COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina used the long ball to top Gardner-Webb Tuesday afternoon, going deep three times to take a 9-4 win in midweek softball action.
The Runnin' Bulldogs (7-18) scored four runs in the first two innings to move in front after the Gamecocks (20-10) took a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the first on the strength of a three-run home run.
Gardner-Webb rallied in the top of the second with three runs of its own to retake the lead.
Annamarie Warley led off with a single down the line in left, then moved to second when Allie Barrick's sacrifice bunt was misplayed. Kaylee Wacaster made that error count, driving home Warley with an RBI single into right to cut the Gamecocks' lead to 3-2.
Rachel Cumiskey sacrificed to move Wacaster and Barrick into scoring position, and Megan Gibbons – one of the team's hottest bats of late – delivered a two-run double into the left center gap to put the 'Dogs up 4-3.
South Carolina answered in the third, however, taking the lead for good on back-to-back solo home runs by Victoria Williams and Shannon Plese. The lead grew to 6-4 in the fourth when Plese drove home another run with a sacrifice fly.
The Gamecocks added three runs in the fifth for the final margin.
Gardner-Webb had five hits on the day, with Gibbons (2-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI) leading that charge. Wacaster (1-for-3), Cumiskey (1-for-3) and Warley (1-for-3) also had base knocks. Megan Champion drove in a run in the first inning on a bases loaded walk.
South Carolina rapped out 14 hits, including five for extra bases, in the win. Kaylea Snaer (4-for-5) and Alyssa VanDerveer (3-for-4, HR, 4 RBI) led the way, with Williams (2-for-3, HR) and Plese (2-for-3, HR, 2 RBI) also supplying a boost.
Summer Darnell (0-4) took the loss out of the bullpen, working 2.0 innings in the circle with two runs and three hits allowed. Four different pitchers saw action for Gardner-Webb.
Hayley Copeland (1-0) picked up the win for South Carolina out of the pen, working 3.0 scoreless frames with one hit allowed.
Gardner-Webb will be back at home on Wednesday, opening Big South Conference action against Winthrop in a doubleheader at Brinkley Softball Stadium. First pitch of the opener is set for 4:00 pm.