CLINTON, S.C. - A two-run error with two outs in the ninth allowed Presbyterian to rally for a 4-3 win over Gardner-Webb Friday in the opener of a three-game Big South Conference series.
Gardner-Webb (27-23, 9-10 Big South) rallied to take the lead in the top of the eighth, getting an RBI double from Brad Collins to tie the game, 2-2, and a steal of home by pinch runner Alex Newman with two outs to go in front 3-2.
Reliever Mitch Warner hurled a scoreless eighth and got the first out in the ninth before running into trouble. Warner plunked Nate Chong, then got a ground ball for the second out of the inning. The Blue Hose (21-28, 8-11 Big South) rallied from there, putting together a pair of infield singles to load the bases. GWU called on closer Adam Izokovic, who got a ground ball that would have ended the game, but the ball was thrown away at second base - allowing the tying and winning runs to cross the plate.
The loss was the first for Gardner-Webb this season when holding the lead after eight innings (25-1).
The Runnin' Bulldogs fell behind 1-0 in the second inning, but took advantage of a Blue Hose error to tie the game in the top of the fourth. Presbyterian went back in front with a run in the bottom of the fourth - before Gardner-Webb came alive for its two runs in the eighth.
Warner (6-2) was tagged with the loss, despite not allowing an earned run in 1.2 innings of work. Starter Andrew Barnett pitched well in a no decision, hurling 7.0 innings and allowing just two runs on seven hits (four strikeouts).
The Blue Hose managed nine hits, with Billy Motroni (3-for-4) the only player with multiple safeties. Michael Ricchi (1-3) picked up his first career win in relief, hurling 1.1 scoreless innings. Chad Sanders allowed three runs (two earned) in 7.1 innings of a no decision start.
The two teams will tangle again on Saturday at 3:00 pm.