ORANGEBURG, S.C. – Gardner-Webb exploded for 22 runs in two games Wednesday afternoon to sweep South Carolina State on the road in non-conference softball action.
GAME ONE – Gardner-Webb 4, SC State 2
Gardner-Webb rapped out 10 hits and plated a pair of runs in the top of the seventh inning to capture a 4-2 win over South Carolina State in Wednesday's opener.
Rachel Cumiskey roped a one-out single to left center in the seventh, then moved into scoring position when Megan Gibbons followed suit. An RBI knock by Callie Thornton pushed Gardner-Webb in front 3-2 and pinch hitter Kaylin Schuda drove home Gibbons with an RBI single and what wound up the winning margin.
South Carolina State tied the game in the bottom of the first, taking advantage of an error and an RBI single. The Bulldogs went up 2-1 in the third inning, with a leadoff walk coming back to haunt the visiting Runnin' Bulldogs.
Gardner-Webb rallied to tie in the fifth. Sam Harrell reached on an error to lead off, then scored on a two-out RBI single from Gibbons to knot the score.
That set up the GWU rally in the seventh inning.
Gibbons led Gardner-Webb's 10-hit attack, going 2-for-4 with an RBI and run scored. Eight other Gardner-Webb batters collected one hit each, with Booth's triple a major blow in the game.
Olivia Henson (2-0) came out of the bullpen to pick up the win, fanning nine batters in 4.0 innings of work. She allowed just one hit in a scoreless outing – and walked only one. Summer Darnell worked 3.0 innings and allowed just one earned run in a no decision.
GAME TWO – Gardner-Webb 18, SC State 6 (5 innings)
Gardner-Webb scored five runs in three different innings in the nightcap Wednesday to beat South Carolina State 18-6 in five innings.
The Runnin' Bulldogs (7-15) collected 17 hits and got big RBI games from Alia Booth (4-for-5, 3B, HR, 5 RBI), Rachel Cumiskey (3-for-4, 5 RBI) and Megan Gibbons (3-for-4, 4 RBI) in the win. Booth, a freshman, finished just a double shy of the cycle in the finale – and paced a Gardner-Webb offense that piled up seven extra base hits.
Gardner-Webb took control of the game with a five-run second inning, getting a two-run single from Cumiskey and another two-run single from Gibbons to power the surge.
Kaylee Wacaster started a five-run burst in the fourth inning, roping an RBI double to left. Cumiskey followed with a two-run single to left center and Booth came through with an RBI triple. Callie Thornton ripped an RBI single to left center to cap a five-hit inning for the Runnin' Bulldogs.
Annamarie Warley led off the fifth inning with a triple into right center and scored on Allie Barrick's sacrifice fly to put Gardner-Webb up 14-6. Gibbons followed with an RBI single for a 15-6 lead – and Booth connected on a three-run bomb to center for what wound up the final margin.
In addition to Booth, Cumiskey and Gibbons, Gardner-Webb got strong offensive games from Wacaster (1-for-1, 5 runs, 4 BB), Thornton (3-for-4, RBI) and Barrick (2-for-3, 3 runs, RBI).
Ashley Wark (3-3) picked up the win, working 3.0 innings in the circle and allowing just one earned run on four hits. Mackenzie Thompson finished the game with 2.0 innings and no earned runs allowed. The duo allowed just five hits combined and struck out five.
Gardner-Webb returns home for its next outing, hosting Syracuse on Tuesday, March 14 in a doubleheader. The twinbill begins at 4:00 pm in Brinkley Softball Stadium.