Gardner-Webb Softball Rallies For 8-7 Win Over Winthrop Wednesday In Big South Opener

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Tim Cowie Photo |
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BOILING SPRINGS – Gardner-Webb rallied with two runs in the bottom of the seventh to walk off with an 8-7 win over Winthrop in the first game of Wednesday's Big South Conference twinbill.

Rachel Cumiskey's RBI single to left was the game winner, as she drove home Madi Lewis. Kaylee Wacaster tied the game with a clutch hit of her own, driving in Maddi Johnson with a one-out single.

Johnson set the table earlier in the inning, belting a double into left.

Gardner-Webb (8-18, 1-0 Big South) fell behind 7-2 after four innings, but scored two runs each in the fifth, sixth and seventh frames to win the Big South Conference opener.

Cumiskey started the fifth-inning rally with a leadoff single, then advanced to second on a passed ball. After Callie Thornton walked with one out and Alia Booth trimmed the Winthrop lead to 7-3 with an RBI single into right field. Thornton later scored on an error to trim the margin to 7-4.

Cumiskey was the catalyst again in the sixth, driving a one-out single into left and scoring on Thornton's infield single two batters later. Booth grounded out to drive home Megan Gibbons, bringing the Runnin' Bulldogs to within one run.

After a ground ball to start the seventh inning, Johnson stepped in with her double into left and Lewis reached on an error. Wacaster followed with her single and Cumiskey came through again with the game winner.

Winthrop plated three runs – all unearned – in the top of the first to stake itself to an early lead. Morgan Lowers had a two-run single in the fourth inning, powering a spurt that put the Eagles up 7-2.

Ashley Wark (4-3) pitched well down the stretch to pick up the win in relief, shutting the Eagles out over the final three innings. Wark hurled 4.0 complete in the circle, fanning one and allowing just one earned run on one hit.

Wacaster (3-for-5, 2B, RBI) and Cumiskey (3-for-5, RBI) starred at the plate, pacing Gardner-Webb's 14-hit attack. Gibbons (2-for-3) remained red hot at the plate, with Thornton (2-for-2, RBI) and Booth (2-for-4, 3 RBI) also providing a spark offensively.

Winthrop's Kiley Majette (6-8) took the loss in game one, pitching 2.0 innings and allowing four runs on six hits.

The Eagles had five hits in the game, with Lowers (2-for-4, 3 RBI) leading the way. Brooke Ellison (1-for-3, 2B) had Winthrop's lone extra base hit.

The two teams will play the nightcap later Wednesday at Brinkley Softball Stadium.