BOILING SPRINGS – Gardner-Webb rallied for a 3-2 win over Holy Cross in its first game Saturday in the 2017 Runnin' Bulldog Softball Tournament, but fell by an 8-2 score to Bucknell in the nightcap.
GAME ONE – Gardner-Webb 3, Holy Cross 2
Gardner-Webb rallied with two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to beat Holy Cross, 3-2, in the first of two games Saturday afternoon at Brinkley Softball Stadium.
Holy Cross jumped on top 1-0 in the top of the first, getting a double from Jaclyn Brewster and a single from Emily Krisanda to get going with one out. Taylor Moss followed with a sacrifice fly for the early lead.
The Crusaders extended the lead in the third, getting a single from Krisanda with a runner on board and another single from Moss to plate Brewster for a 2-0 lead.
Gardner-Webb got its offense going in the fourth, when slugger Rachel Cumiskey doubled to left to lead off the frame. A grounder moved her to third and Megan Gibbons came through with a clutch RBI single to center to cut the deficit in half.
The Runnin' Bulldogs added another single and a walk to load the bases with two outs, but could not get another run across.
Gardner-Webb (3-9) mounted its big rally in the sixth to take the lead for good.
Gibbons led off with a walk, then moved to second on a nice sacrifice bunt by Lewis. After a walk to Allie Barrick put two on board, Sam Harrell was plunked to load the bases.
Sophomore sensation Kaylee Wacaster delivered, legging out an RBI single to third – driving home Gibbons to tie the game. Annamarie Warley followed with her own infield single, allowing Barrick to cross the plate for a 3-2 lead.
Holy Cross halted the rally with a pair of ground ball outs, but the damage was enough.
Ashley Wark, who entered in the fourth inning, got the Crusaders out in order in the top of the seventh to secure the win.
Wark (1-1) worked 4.0 scoreless frames to pick up the win, relieving Sam Darnell – who went 3.0 innings and allowed two runs on five hits. Wark fanned three and scattered three hits in a fine relief appearance.
Gardner-Webb had eight hits in the game, with Warley going 2-for-4 with an RBI to lead that charge. Wacaster (1-for-4), Alia Booth (1-for-3), Cumiskey (1-for-3, 2B), Callie Thornton (1-for-3), Gibbons (1-for-1) and Barrick (1-for-2) also had base knocks in the game.
Katy Watson took the loss in the circle for Holy Cross, coming out of the bullpen to toss 1.1 innings and allow two runs. She allowed three hits and walked two. Alexandra Held had a no decision start, hurling 4.2 innings and allowing just one run on six hits (two walks).
Brewster (2-for-3) and Krisanda (2-for-4) each had two of the Crusaders' eight hits in the game.
GAME TWO – Bucknell 8, Gardner-Webb 2
An eight-run explosion by Bucknell in the top of the fifth inning proved to be the difference Saturday afternoon in an 8-2 win over Gardner-Webb.
Gardner-Webb (3-10) went up 1-0 in the first, getting an RBI double from Kaylee Wacaster after Allie Barrick reached on an error.
The fifth-inning rally by the Bison started with a walk to Carolyn Wan, who scored on an RBI triple from Paulina Gutkin to left. An RBI single from Ryanne Rokos followed and another single loaded the bases with no outs.
A play at the plate resulted in the first out of the inning, but the bases remained loaded. An RBI single pushed Bucknell's lead to 3-1 and a pop up resulted in another run for a 4-1 edge. Wan came around for a second at bat and was hit by a pitch with the bases juiced, pushing the lead to 5-1.
Disaster struck soon after, when Gutkin stepped in and delivered a three-run double that made the score 8-1.
Freshman Olivia Henson came out of the pen to stop the rally, recording a key strikeout to end the threat.
The score would remain intact until the bottom of the seventh, when Barrick again reached on an error – and scored on another big double from Wacaster.
Wacaster (2-for-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI) led the way offensively for Gardner-Webb, collecting half of the team's four hits Saturday. Annamarie Warley (1-for-4) and Rachel Cumiskey (1-for-2) also had hits for the 'Dogs.
Mackenzie Thompson took the loss, allowing eight hits and eight runs in 4.2 innings of work. She fanned three batters. Henson came on and pitched 2.1 scoreless innings with one strikeout.
Gardner-Webb will be back in action midweek, traveling to Durham, N.C., to play North Carolina Central on Thursday, February 23. First pitch in the opening game is set for Noon.