CHARLOTTE – Gardner-Webb dropped a heartbreaker in Wednesday's opener, 2-1 in extra innings, and lost by an 8-3 score in the nightcap to the Charlotte 49ers.
Charlotte drove home the game-winner with two outs in the bottom of the eighth to pull out a 2-1 win over Gardner-Webb in Wednesday's opener.
Grace Beatty singled home Spenser Gray with a hit to left field to end the game. The 49ers tied the game when Gray poked a one-out single into left. She stole second, moved to third on a ground ball and scored on Beatty's hit.
Gardner-Webb (2-6) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the eighth when Kaylee Wacaster singled home Megan Champion for the first run of the game.
Neither team scratched during the first seven innings, with Gardner-Webb's Mackenzie Thompson and Charlotte's Haley Wiseman engaged in a pitcher's duel.
Gardner-Webb had its best chance to score in the fourth, when Annamarie Warley led off with an infield single. A two-out walk to Callie Thornton moved Warley into scoring position, but Wiseman worked out of the jam with a fly ball.
The Runnin' Bulldogs had a pair of hits in the game, with Warley and Wacaster collecting those base knocks. Alia Booth and Thornton each drew walks to get on base.
Thompson (1-3) went 7.2 innings in the circle, allowing two runs (one earned) while scattering eight hits.
Charlotte was paced by Beatty (2-for-4, 2B, RBI) and Becca Shipper (2-for-4, 3B) at the plate. Wiseman (2-2) worked the entire 8.0 innings for the 49ers in the circle, picking up the win after fanning 14 batters, walking two and allowing just one run on two hits.
Charlotte jumped out to a 5-0 lead after its first two at bats and responded to a Gardner-Webb rally with three more runs to take an 8-3 win in the nightcap.
The 49ers pushed two runs across in the first, getting home to open the scoring on a wild pitch – then getting the lead to 2-0 with an RBI ground ball.
A two-run single by Emma Ocker in the second inning starting things and Charlotte added another run to go up 5-0.
Gardner-Webb posted its rally in the top of the fourth to tighten things considerably.
Megan Champion drilled a two-run double to left, plating Callie Thornton and Rachel Cumiskey, then Allie Barrick drove home Megan Gibbons with a sacrifice fly to make the score 5-3.
Charlotte plated three runs in response in the bottom half of the fourth, scoring all three on RBI ground balls – including a bunt single – for what would be the final margin.
The 49ers had nine hits in the game, with Becca Shipper (2-for-3) and Kiersten Berrier (2-for-3) leading the way. Allison Green worked 4.0 innings for the win, allowing three runs on four hits. Lauren Riley picked up a save with 3.0 scoreless frames.
Gardner-Webb had five hits, with freshman standout Alia Booth going 2-for-3. Olivia Henson took the loss, allowing five runs in 1.2 innings of work to start the game.
Sam Harrell and Ashley Wark finished the game for Gardner-Webb in the circle, with Wark hurling 2.0 scoreless out of the pen.
The Runnin' Bulldogs will be back at home for their next action, hosting Bucknell at 2:00 pm on the first day of the 2017 Runnin' Bulldog Softball Tournament. GWU will host Holy Cross later in the afternoon to cap the day's action.
The tournament, which will be played Friday-Sunday at Brinkley Softball Stadium, will feature 11 games. Gardner-Webb, Bucknell, Holy Cross and Seton Hall are participating.