BOILING SPRINGS – Gardner-Webb collected 20 hits Thursday afternoon to complete a two-game sweep of North Carolina Central at Brinkley Softball Stadium.
GAME ONE – Gardner-Webb 5, NC Central 1
Annamarie Warley and Kaylee Wacaster each had two hits to lead Gardner-Webb to a 5-1 win over North Carolina Central in the first game of a Thursday afternoon doubleheader.
Gardner-Webb (5-10) got on the board in the second inning, when Rachel Cumiskey started things with an infield single. After a bunt single by Callie Thornton moved Cumiskey into scoring position, Warley stepped in and delivered a two-run single for the early lead.
The Eagles cut the lead in half in the top of the third, getting an RBI single from Kim Mobley, but Gardner-Webb would put the game away in the sixth.
A walk to Thornton with one out starting the rally and Madi Lewis stepped in and belted a double into right center to put runners on second and third. Megan Champion bunted home Thornton for a 3-1 lead, then Allie Barrick's infield single plated Lewis for a 4-1 edge.
Wacaster then capped the scoring with an RBI single to drive in Barrick.
Ashley Wark (2-1) picked up the win, hurling 4.0 innings and striking out one. She scattered four hits and allowed just one run. Sam Harrell came on to finish the game, earning a save after tossing 3.0 scoreless frames.
In addition to Wacaster (2-for-4, RBI) and Warley (2-for-3, 2 RBI), Gardner-Webb got hits from Cumiskey (1-for-3), Thornton (1-for-1), Lewis (1-for-3, 2B) and Champion (1-for-1, RBI).
North Carolina Central's Dominique Wilson (1-4) was tagged with the loss, going the distance and allowing four earned runs on nine hits in 6.0 innings. She fanned four and walked two.
The Eagles got one single each from six different players.
GAME TWO – Gardner-Webb 7, NC Central 4
Callie Thornton's three-run home run in the first powered Gardner-Webb to a 7-4 win over North Carolina Central in the second game of Thursday's double header Thursday afternoon.
After the Eagles' Dominique Wilson belted an RBI double in the top of the first for a 1-0 lead, Gardner-Webb got its offense going quickly in the bottom half.
North Carolina Central cut the lead to 3-2 in the fourth, but Gardner-Webb got that run back in the fifth after Gibbons led off with a double and scored on a ground ball.
The Runnin' Bulldogs plated three more runs in the sixth to create some space, with Megan Champion and Annamarie Warley leading off the frame with back-to-back singles. A ground ball moved both into scoring position and Kaylee Wacaster came through again with an RBI single to left for a 5-2 lead.
After Wacaster swiped second base, Booth reached on a two-out error that allowed Wacaster and Warley to come around and score for a 7-2 advantage.
NC Central made a push in the top of the seventh after a Gardner-Webb error – when Miriam Duen collected her second RBI double of the game to make it 7-3. After a two-out walk, Wilson rapped an RBI single into center to drive home Duen for the final run of the game.
The Eagles got the tying run on base after a hit batter, but reliever Ashley Wark coaxed a ground ball to end the game.
Gardner-Webb had 11 hits in the nightcap, with Thornton (3-for-3, HR, 3 RBI), Wacaster (2-for-4, RBI), Gibbons (2-for-4, 2B) and Champion (2-for-3, 2B) all collecting multiple knocks.
Mackenzie Thompson picked up the win, hurling 3.0 innings and allowing just one run on three hits. She fanned six and walked just one in the victory.
Wark came on for the save, facing two batters in the top of the seventh.
North Carolina Central had seven hits in the game, with Wilson (2-for-4, 2 RBI) leading the way. Wilson also took the loss in the circle, allowing 11 hits and six earned runs in a 6.0 innings of work.
Gardner-Webb will turn around quickly for its next game, taking on Texas Tech in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Friday at Noon as part of the 2017 Easton Bama Bash Tournament.