BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. - Gardner-Webb scored a run in the bottom of the seventh inning to pull out a 3-2 victory over Coastal Carolina in the final game of the three-game series Saturday afternoon.
It was just the second loss in 10 games for the Chanticleers, who fell to 20-13 overall and 7-2 in the Big South Conference. Gardner-Webb improved to 4-20 and 1-9 in the conference.
The game featured two lead changes and two ties as the teams took turns exchanging single runs, capped by the Runnin' Bulldogs game-winner with two outs in the seventh.
Gardner-Webb leadoff hitter Samantha Meenaghan reached on an infield single to third base with one out and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kellie Beres - her third of the game. Morgan Baker then lined a 3-0 pitch from Coastal starter Kiana Quolasinto centerfield and the speedy Meenaghan slid home ahead of the throw. Meenaghan had three of the Bulldogs' seven hits in the game.
It was the lone earned run given up by Quolas as Coastal errors helped lead to the first two. Quolas (11-6) lost for the first time in five starts, as she struck out three and walked two.
The Chanticleers' were limited to just two hits in the game by Gardner-Webb starter Ashley Rhyne, but took a 1-0 lead in the second on an RBI groundout by Morgan Noad. Paige Goldsack drew a leadoff walk and pinchrunner Courtney Howell stole second and advanced to third when the throw went into center field. Noad then grounded out to first and Howell came home.
Gardner-Webb tied it in the bottom of the inning on a leadoff single, a fielding error, a sacrifice bunt, a bunt single and a sacrifice fly by Meenaghan. However, the Chants were able to throw out a second runner trying to score for an inning-ending double play.
The Runnin' Bulldogs, though, took their first lead of the series in the bottom of the third, capitalizing on a two-out throwing error that was followed by RBI single by Mariana Gallardo.
Jessie Winanscame up with a good defensive play for CCU in the bottom of the sixth, diving to her left for a groundball to get an inning-ending forceout at second.
However, Gardner-Webb answered on defense in the top of the seventh as centerfielder Melinda Dulkowski made a diving catch to take a leadoff hit away from Donovan.
Winans had the only other hit of the game for the Chants, a single in the second inning. Rhyne walked three and struck out one.
Coastal is back in action on Tuesday, April 2 for a doubleheader at Charleston Southern, starting at 2 p.m.