Boiling Springs, N.C. - The Gardner-Webb softball team struggled at the plate on Wednesday afternoon, as the Runnin' Bulldogs failed to push across a run in a non-conference doubleheader against USC Upstate, falling to the Spartans 9-0 and 7-0 at Varsity Field in Boiling Springs, N.C.
The two losses drops GWU to 4-4 overall and 4-2 at home, while USC Upstate improves to a perfect 8-0 overall.
Game 1: USC Upstate 9, Gardner-Webb 0 (6 innings)
Gardner-Webb struggled to find their offense in game one, as the Runnin' Bulldogs were held scoreless in a 9-0 six inning shutout loss to the Spartans of USC Upstate.
The Spartans started off hot at the plate in game one, blasting four singles and pushing across one run to take an early 1-0 lead in the first.
GWU sophomore Samantha Meenaghan led off the bottom of the first with a single to short, however, the Runnin' Bulldogs next three batters went down in order, leaving the score at 1-0 in favor of the visiting Spartans after one inning of play.
In the top of the second, Upstate's Maddison Kieffer blasted a two-run home run over the right center field fence to put the visitors up 3-0.
After GWU stranded two runners in the bottom of the second, Upstate took advantage of three Runnin' Bulldog errors in the third and four hits in the fourth to push their lead to 5-0 after four innings.
Upstate blew the game open with a four-run fifth to put the game away at 9-0 after five innings.
Gardner-Webb sophomore Jessica Childers (1-2) suffered the loss, as she gave up three runs on five hits and one walk over two innings of work.
Upstate's Hannah Alexander (6-0) remains unbeaten, as she held the Runnin' Bulldogs scoreless on four hits and one walk, while striking out three over five innings.
USC Upstate's Kieffer was 2-3 with a home run, a double, two RBIs and two runs scored, while Janna Lewis was 2-2 with an RBI and Ashley Butler was 2-4 with an RBI.
Game 2: USC Upstate 7, Gardner-Webb 0
The Runnin' Bulldogs managed only two hits and made three errors defensively, as the Spartans defeated GWU 7-0 in game two.
After both teams' failed to push across a run in the first, USC Upstate put together a two out rally in the top of the second to get on the scoreboard first. Upstate's Kendall Settlemyre led the two-out rally with a base-on-balls, which was followed by a GWU error and a single by Lindsay Kelly which loaded the bases.
Lead-off hitter Lindsey Greeson then drew a bases loaded walk to push across the first run of the game. Ericka Harris then singled up the middle to drive in two and put the visitors up 3-0.
Upstate added to the lead in the top of the third, as the Spartans plated three runs on two sacrifice flies and a Gardner-Webb throwing error, putting them on top 6-0 after two and a half innings of play.
After the Spartans pushed the lead to 7-0 by way of a home run by Shellie Robinson, Gardner-Webb's offense picked up in the bottom of the fourth by way of the bench as pitch hitters Brittney Morrow and Elizabeth Williams recorded a single and a double to put runners on second and third with two outs.
However, the next batter struck out swinging to end the inning and keep the Runnin' Bulldogs off the scoreboard.
GWU would go down in order over their final three at bats to suffer the 7-0 shutout loss.
GWU's Alyssa Gutierrez (1-1), who picked up a shutout win on Tuesday, was handed her first loss of the year, as she gave up six runs on four hits and three walks over the first three innings of the game.
For Upstate, Lacey Dinney (2-0) recorded the win, allowing only two hits, while striking out 13 over six innings of work.
At the plate for GWU, Morrow was 1-2, while Williams was 1-2 with a double.
The Spartans' Robinson was 2-4 with a home run, an RBI and run scored, while Harris was 1-2 with two RBIs.
Gardner-Webb (4-4) will kick off an 18-game road trip this Friday, February 24th, as the Runnin' Bulldogs will compete at the Seahawk Classic in Wilmington, N.C. On Friday, GWU will take on Kansas at 12:15 p.m. and host UNC Wilmington at 4:45 p.m.