Wilmington, N.C. - The Gardner-Webb softball team fell to the Fairfield Stags 7-4 and 4-3 on Saturday afternoon, as the two teams' played each other twice on day two of the Seahawk Classic hosted by UNC Wilmington in Wilmington, N.C.
The two losses drop Gardner-Webb to 5-7 overall on the year, while Fairfield improves to 3-1 overall with the two wins.
Game 1: Fairfield 7, Gardner-Webb 4
In a game that saw four home runs and a total of 21 hits, the Runnin' Bulldogs left nine runners on base in a 7-4 loss to Fairfield in the two teams' first game on Saturday afternoon at the Seahawk Classic.
Gardner-Webb faced adversity in the top of the first, as a lead- off single and a stolen base put a runner on second with no outs for Fairfield. However, Gardner-Webb pitcher Jessica Childers struck out the next two Stag batters to put the Runnin' Bulldogs within one out of ending the inning.
With two outs, Fairfield's Alli Wigan singled to left field where GWU senior Jane Savage came up throwing to home and nailed Kristen Filicia at the plate for the third out of the inning.
The Runnin' Bulldogs found their offense in the first, as freshman Kellie Beres ripped a one-out single through the left side of the infield. After fellow freshman Savannah Burns flied out to center field for the second out of the inning, senior right fielder Lindsea Hutchinson blasted a home run, her first of the season, to put GWU in front at 2-0 after one inning of play.
The lead did not last long, as the Stags' Brianna Levick posted a three-run home run with two outs in the top of the second to put Fairfield in front for the first time in the game at 3-2.
Looking to tie the score back up in the bottom of the second, GWU lead-off hitter Samantha Meenaghan lined a two-out single to right field and then stole second base. However, Beres then grounded out to second to end the inning with the Stags still on top at 3-2 after two.
Another home run, this time a two-run shot by Lauren Liseth in the top of third, put the Stags in front by three at 5-2.
GWU got one run back in the bottom half of the inning, as after a lead-off single by Burns, Hutchison doubled down the left field line to put runners on second and third with no outs. After a Gardner-Webb pop out, senior catcher McKenzie Morenus flied out deep to center field to score pitch runner Emily Bowman from third and cut the Stags lead to two at 5-3 heading into the fourth inning.
However, Fairfield added to their lead in the top of the fifth, as pitch hitter Sammy Ruffolo recorded a one-out RBI single and then later scored on a Gardner-Webb fielding error to put the Stags back out in front by four at 7-3.
The Runnin' Bulldogs stranded one runner in the fifth and two in the sixth and did not score again until the bottom of the seventh as Burns homered to lead-off the inning. The home run was Burns' second of the season.
GWU would not score again, as the Runnin' Bulldogs fell to the Stags of Fairfield 7-4.
Childers (1-4) suffered the loss, as the sophomore gave up four runs on five hits, while striking out three in only two innings of action. Beres allowed three runs, two of which were earned, over 2.1 innings of relief work, while redshirt-senior Cindy Boomhower finished up the game with three strikeouts over the final 2.2 innings of the contest.
Fairfield's Emily Orr (1-0) recorded the win, as she gave up three runs on six hits and one walk over the first two innings of the game. Rebecca Trott pitched four innings of relief out of the bullpen, allowing one run on five hits, while Rae Ball recorded her first save on the year getting the final three outs of the game.
Hutchinson was 2-3 with a home run, a double, a walk and two RBI, while Burns was 2-4 with a home run and one RBI. Morenus was 1-3 with an RBI, while Meenaghan went 3-4 with a stolen base for the game.
For the Stags, Ruffolo was 2-2 with an RBI, while Levick was 1-4 with a home run and four RBI.
Game 2: Fairfield 4, Gardner-Webb 3
In a rematch of GWU's early game in the day, the Runnin' Bulldogs battled the Fairfield Stags to another close contest, yet allowed the Stags to score two runs in the bottom of the seventh and escape with a 4-3 win.
Like in the two teams' previous game, Gardner-Webb got on the scoreboard first by way of a home run by Hutchinson which gave the Runnin' Bulldogs an early 1-0 lead after two innings.
While GWU starting pitcher Alyssa Gutierrez put the Stags down in order in each of the first three innings, the Runnin' Bulldogs doubled their lead to 2-0 in the top of the fourth. Freshman Amanda Gomes led-off the fourth with a double, which was immediately followed by a single through the left side by Morgan Baker.
After a walk to Elizabeth Williams loaded the bases the next two GWU batters popped out to leave the bases loaded with two outs for Meenaghan at the top of the order. The reigning Big South Freshman of the Year singled to score pitch runner Rachel Jablonski and put the visitors up 2-0.
In the bottom half of the fourth, the Stags tied the score up with a sacrifice fly and an RBI single by Wigand to put the game at 2-2 heading into the final three innings of play.
Refusing to relinquish the lead, Baker led-off the sixth with a single up the middle and was advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. With two outs, shortstop Jordyn Arrowood singled to plate Baker and put the Runnin' Bulldogs back in front by one at 3-2.
GWU held onto the one-run lead heading into the bottom of the seventh, when Kimi Kurata led-off the inning for the Stags with a single up the middle. After being advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, pitch hitter Tiffany Lawson singled through the left side to put runners on first and third with one out. Levick drew a base-on-balls to load the bases for Filicia who singled to left center to drive in one to tie the score up at 3-3.
The next batter then grounded into a fielder's choice, as Arrowood threw out Lawson at home to not only keep the game tied at 2-2, but also pick up the second out in the inning.
Looking to get the third out and send the game into extra innings, Gutierrez faced Liseth who singled up the middle to drive in Mikayla Shumate for the game-winning run in the 4-3 win.
Gutierrez (2-2) allowed four runs, three of which were earned, on six hits and three walks, while striking out three in the loss.
Fairfield's Ball (2-0) remains unbeaten on the year, as she gave up three runs, two of which were earned, on seven hits and three walks, while striking out six GWU batters over seven innings.
Hutchinson was 1-4 with a solo home run at the plate for GWU, while Baker was 2-2 with a walk and a run scored. Meenaghan was 1-3 with an RBI, while Arrowood was 1-2 with an RBI.
For the Stags, Kurata was 2-3 with a run scored, while Liseth was 1-2 with two RBI in the win.
Gardner-Webb (5-7) will return to action on Sunday morning, as the Runnin' Bulldogs will take on UNC Wilmington in the consolation game at 11 a.m. on the final day of the Seahawk Classic.