RADFORD, Va. (www.BigSouthSports.com)
- No. 5 Gardner-Webb picked up an RBI single by Kellie Beres
and a two-home run off the bat of redshirt-junior Melinda Dulkowski
with two outs in the top of the seventh to post a 4-2 come-from-behind win over No. 4 Campbell in game one of the 2012 Big South Softball Championship presented by Musco Sports Lighting and Brookwood Farms Barbeque Thursday morning at Radford Softball Field in Radford, Va.
Gardner-Webb improves to 26-26 on the year, while Campbell falls to 29-27.
The Runnin' Bulldogs threatened first in the top of the second, as senior catcher McKenzie Morenus reached second to lead off the inning on a dropped fly ball by Campbell centerfielder Stephanie Jones. After advancing to third on a ground out, the next two batters struck out to end the half inning and leave Morenus stranded at third.
Campbell shortstop Ericka Nesbitt recorded the first hit of the game with a two-out double to left center in the bottom of the third and after a walk to Camise Patterson put runners on first and second, GWU hurler Jessica Childers got the next Fighting Camel hitter to ground out to short to end the inning.
Gardner-Webb would take the lead in the top of the fourth, as First-Team All-Conference selection lined a two-out triple to right field to score Morenus all the way from first base and put the visitors on top 1-0.
Campbell found their offense in the bottom of the fifth, as back-to-back singles off the bats of Erica Johnson and Raven Lee put two on with no outs to start the inning. After the next Campbell hitter struck out looking, Nesbitt laid down a bunt single to load the bases. Another strikeout gave the Runnin' Bulldogs two outs in the inning, as the visitors looked to get out of the inning without any damage. However, Jones hit a sharp line drive through the right side to score two and put the Fighting Camels in front at 2-1.
Looking to get tie the score, GWU's Jordyn Arrowood lined a one-out triple over the head of the left fielder in the top of the sixth. Yet the next two Runnin' Bulldogs would strikeout and pop out to the pitcher to end the inning and keep the score at 2-1 in favor of the Camels.
With their backs against the wall, the Runnin' Bulldogs got a leadoff double off the left field fence by Morgan Baker to start the top of the seventh. After a sacrifice bunt and a strikeout, put Baker on third with two outs. Refusing to throw up the white flag, Beres singled through the left side to drive in Baker to knot the score up at 2-2.
With Beres on first, Dulkowski blasted a home run over the left field fence, plating two to put the visitors on top 4-2. The home run was Dulkowski's second of the season.
Campbell would load the bases in the bottom half of the seventh on a GWU throwing error and back-to back singles. The next Fighting Camel batter would hit a slow ground ball to third, where GWU's Arrowood came up throwing to the plate for the force out at home.
With one out and the bases still loaded, GWU's Cindy Boomhower got the next Campbell batter to ground into a 4-3 double play to end the game with the Runnin' Bulldogs on top 4-2.
Boomhower (11-6) earned the win, as she held Campbell scoreless on six hits, while striking out two over the final three innings of play. The loss went to Campbell's Christina Melton (4-7), as the righty gave up four runs on six hits and one walk, while striking out seven over the seven inning contest.
At the plate, GWU's Baker was 2-for-3 with a triple, a double and an RBI, while Dulkowski was 1-for-2 with a home run and two RBI.
For Campbell offensively, Jones was 2-for-4 with two RBI, while Johnson was 2-for-3 for the game.
The Runnin' Bulldogs will play the winner of No. 1 Radford-No. 8 Winthrop on Friday morning at 11:30am. The Fighting Camels will play the loser of the Highlanders vs. Eagles game tonight at 7:00pm.
Gardner-Webb Head Coach Tom Cole
"I give credit to our whole team for fighting back to win the game. I give credit to Campbell for battling back the way they did to tie the score and take the lead. When Morgan (Baker) led off the seventh with the double off the fence that was a clutch hit. With two-outs and two strikes, Kellie (Beres) RBI single was another clutch hit. The second home run of Melinda's (Dulkowski) career to put us in front was unbelievable. In the last inning Campbell showed a lot of heart and character to load the bases. Sammi (Meenaghan) made a great play on a tough ground ball to turn the double play. That's Sammi at her best."
Campbell Head Coach Drew Peterson
"I am proud of the way we fought and competed. This was one of those games where it came down to one clutch hit. We got ours from Stephanie (Jones), but they also got theirs and it was the game-tying and then game-winner. We will now just have to fight back and take it one game at a time for the rest of the tournament starting tonight."