Gardner-Webb Softball Loses To UCF and 10th-Ranked Alabama Saturday At 2017 Bama Bash

Tim Cowie Photo  |  GWUPhotos.com
Tim Cowie Photo | GWUPhotos.com

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Gardner-Webb continued its play at the 2017 Easton Bama Bash Saturday, falling to UCF by a 9-1 score in the first game of the day and to host and 10th-ranked Alabama, 9-0, later in the afternoon.

GAME ONE – UCF 9, Gardner-Webb 1 (five innings)
UCF scored four runs in the third and three more in the fourth to beat Gardner-Webb 9-1 Saturday in five innings at the 2017 Easton Bama Bash.

Gardner-Webb (3-12) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third, getting a leadoff walk from Megan Champion. Annamarie Warley reached on an error, then both moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Allie Barrick.

Kaylee Wacaster came through with an RBI single, then stole second with one out in the inning. UCF starter Manami Calixto recovered to get a pair of outs, with Alia Booth's line drive caught to end the inning.

The Golden Knights responded with four runs in the bottom half to take control of the game.

A walk to Willow Kalinen was followed by a single from Tamesha Glover, then Linnea Goodman doubled down the line in left to tie the score. A two-run triple by Courtney Rotton gave UCF the lead and Cassady Brewer followed with a sacrifice fly for a 4-1 lead.

A pair of run-scoring bunts and an infield single accounted for the Golden Knights' three runs in the fourth. A passed ball in the fifth pushed the lead to 8-1 and an RBI single by Kalinen gave UCF a 9-1 lead that cut the game short.

Gardner-Webb managed three hits in the game, with Wacaster (1-for-3, RBI, SB), Madi Lewis (1-for-2) and Champion (1-for-1, 2B) collecting those safeties.

Ashley Wark (2-3) took the loss, allowing four runs on four hits in 3.0 innings of work. Olivia Henson (two earned runs) and Sam Darnell (one earned run) finished out the game for GWU.

UCF had nine hits, with Goodman (2-for-3, 2 RBI) and Megan Greenwell (2-for-3, 2B) leading the way.

Calixto went the distance, scattering three hits and allowing only one run in 5.0 innings. She fanned three and walked one.

GAME TWO – #10 Alabama 9, Gardner-Webb 0 (5 innings)
No. 10 Alabama scored six runs in the bottom of the second Saturday afternoon and added three more in the fourth to beat Gardner-Webb, 9-0, in five innings at the Easton Bama Bash.

The Tide (11-2) started the bottom of the second with a base on balls and had six consecutive batters reach base – scoring two runs – before a double play slowed the rally. Peyton Grantham drove a two-run double into left and Merris Schroder followed with another two-out double to put the hosts up 6-0 quickly.

An RBI single by Caroline Hardy and a two-run double from Carrigan Fain in the fourth inning pushed the lead to 9-0 after Gardner-Webb stranded three runners in the top of the fourth.

The Runnin' Bulldogs got two runners on board in the top of the fifth in a bid to keep the game going, as Annamarie Warley was hit by a pitch and Maddi Johnson reached on a fielding error. Alabama recovered with a pair of ground outs to end the game in five.

Alabama finished the game with 10 hits, led by Fain (3-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI). Pitcher Madi Moore worked 5.0 innings and fanned three with two hits allowed.

Gardner-Webb was led by Kaylee Wacaster (1-for-3) and Megan Gibbons (1-for-3) at the plate. Mackenzie Thompson took the loss, despite allowing only two earned runs in her start. She scattered six hits and walked three in 1.2 innings of work in the circle.

Gardner-Webb will wrap up its trek to Alabama on Sunday, taking on Texas Tech at Noon (ET). The Runnin' Bulldogs will take several days off before returning to action on March 8 at South Carolina State (2:00 pm).

GWU will return home on Tuesday, March 14, to host Syracuse at Brinkley Softball Stadium. First pitch that day will be at 4:00 pm.

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