Gardner-Webb Softball Drops Pair Of Tight Games Saturday On Second Day Of 2017 AmericInn Classic

Tim Cowie Photo  |
Tim Cowie Photo |

BOILING SPRINGS – Gardner-Webb dropped a pair of tight games on Saturday afternoon at the 2017 AmericInn Classic, falling 3-0 to North Carolina A&T to start the day and dropping a 4-1 decision to ETSU in the nightcap.

Game One
North Carolina A&T got a shutout pitching performance from Zadasia Waddell in the final round robin game of the 2017 AmericInn Classic Saturday afternoon, and the Aggies topped Gardner-Webb, 3-0.

Gardner-Webb collected six hits in the game, but stranded six runners after scoring 15 runs in two wins on Friday.

North Carolina A&T plated an unearned run in the top of the first for a 1-0 lead, took a 2-0 lead in the second on a wild pitch and capped the scoring with an RBI double from Kimberly Brunson in the fourth. Brunson's two-bagger plated Nathaly Pacheco for the final margin.

Gardner-Webb had a chance to make some noise in the bottom of the fourth, when Alia Booth, Rachel Cumiskey singled to lead off the inning. Waddell worked out of the jam, however, getting three ground balls to end the inning.

Gardner-Webb went in order in the fifth and sixth, but got going in the seventh when Cumiskey led off with a single. After a pair of consecutive infield pop ups, Megan Champion singled to bring the tying run to the plate – but Waddell coaxed another pop up to end the game.

Sam Harrell (0-1) took the mound loss for GWU, allowing five hits and two earned runs in 3.1 innings of work. Summer Darnell came out of the pen to work 3.2 scoreless frames to keep the Runnin' Bulldogs within striking distance.

Cumiskey (2-for-3) and Champion (2-for-3, 2B) each had a pair of Gardner-Webb's six hits. Booth (1-for-3) and Megan Gibbons (1-for-3) also had singles.

Waddell (2-0) hurled 7.0 innings, allowed six hits and fanned four (one walk) in her shutout performance. She induced 10 ground balls in the outing as well.

She also helped herself at the dish, going 2-for-2 with a pair of singles. Brunson (2-for-2, 2B, RBI) also collected a pair of hits for the Aggies.

Game Two
East Tennessee State plated three runs in the top of the fifth to break a scoreless tie and held on for a 4-1 win over Gardner-Webb in the second semifinal of the 2017 AmericInn Classic at Brinkley Softball Stadium.

The Runnin' Bulldogs (2-4) jumped on the board in the bottom of the first, working some two-out magic to get a quick start.

Megan Gibbons hit a two-out single to left to get going, then freshman standout Alia Booth roped a double to right, moving Gibbons all the way to third.

Rachel Cumiskey stepped in and delivered the RBI with an infield single to drive home Gibbons.

The Buccaneers (3-1) answered back in the top of the second, getting a solo home run to left from first baseman Taylor Carter with one away. Gardner-Webb ace Mackenzie Thompson regrouped to get out of the inning, getting a ground ball to second and a fly ball to right – and the two teams would remain tied until ETSU's burst late in the game.

Gardner-Webb left runners on in the second and fourth innings and the Buccaneers took advantage of a pair of timely hits and two errors to seize the lead in the fifth.

Tiffany Laughren singled to lead off the frame, then moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt. After Thompson fanned the next batter for the second out of the inning, Mykeah Johnson coaxed a walk.

Danielle Knoetze stepped in with the big blow, doubling to left and moving all the way to third on an error in the outfield. Both Laughren and Johnson crossed the plate for a 3-1 lead. The Bucs added another run when a swinging third strike was misplayed, allowing Knoetze to score from third for what would be the final margin.

Gardner-Webb's Kaylee Wacaster drew a one-out walk in the bottom half of the fifth, forcing ETSU to go to its bullpen – but a fielder's choice and a fly ball to center field ended the inning.

ETSU got a triple from Carter in the top of the sixth, but freshman Olivia Henson – who started the inning in relief – got a pair of outs to strand her at third base.

The Runnin' Bulldogs got a one-out double from Cumiskey in the bottom half, but ETSU stranded her at third base.

After ETSU went down in order in the top of the seventh, Gardner-Webb got a two-out walk from Wacaster – but Madison Ogle recorded a grounder to third to end the game.

Lindsey Fadnek (1-0) picked up the win, hurling 4.1 innings and allowing just one run on three hits. She pitched around three base on balls and fanned three. Ogle worked 2.2 scoreless frames for the save, walking one and allowing a pair of hits.

Knoetze (2-for-4, 2B) and Carter (2-for-3, 3B, HR, RBI) had all but one of the Bucs' five hits. ETSU was efficient, stranding only three runners.

Gardner-Webb's Thompson (1-2) took the loss, allowing four runs (one earned) on four hits in 5.0 innings pitched. She fanned three and walked one. Henson worked 2.0 scoreless innings out of the pen, fanning a pair of batters and allowing just one hit.

Cumiskey (2-for-2) had two of Gardner-Webb's four hits in the game. Gibbons (1-for-3) and Booth (1-for-3, 2B) also had base knocks.

The Runnin' Bulldogs will play North Carolina A&T on Sunday at Noon in the consolation final of the AmericInn Classic. ETSU will play Alabama A&M in the championship final at 2:30.