RADFORD, VA. – No. 5 Gardner-Webb scored eight runs in the top of the first inning and went on to defeat No. 6 Coastal Carolina 12-8 in an elimination game of the 2009 Big South Softball Tournament presented by Texas Roadhouse.
Gardner-Webb got on the board early in the first, scoring six runs before the Chanticleers recorded an out. The big hit of the inning came off the bat of Kelsey Witter, who laced a double to score a pair of Runnin’ Bulldogs and brought the lead to 4-0. Gardner-Webb added four more runs on the frame to extend the lead to 8-0.
Coastal Carolina got on the board in the top of the second, with a run in the top of the inning. The Chanticleers then added a pair in the third on a Stacy Snellings dinger to centerfield for her first homer of the season that cut the Gardner-Webb lead to 8-3.
Witter struck again in the third with an RBI triple in the third, and was followed by a Melinda Dulkowski double to right field to score a run and extend the Gardner-Webb lead to 10-3. The Runnin’ Bulldogs tacked on two more runs in the frame to extend the lead to 12-3 heading into the fourth.
Coastal Carolina loaded the bases in the fourth with no outs, and Brittany Birnbaum delivered with a one-out, two RBI single to run the tally the 12-5. The very next batter, Michelle Evans doubled to right field for an RBI. On the frame, Gardner-Webb burned through three pitchers and the Chanticleers added two more runs in the frame to crawl within four runs of the lead with the score sitting at 12-8 heading into the bottom of the fourth.
The fifth inning marked the first full frame of the contest were neither team scored a run. Both sides also failed to score in the final three innings, putting the final score at 12-8 in favor of the Lady Bulldogs.
Katelin Edwards was roughed up in the first inning, as she allowed five runs on six hits and didn’t record an out in the in the loss and falls to 5-18 on the season. Christine Murray improves to 11-16 as she threw 6.1 innings, and allowed three runs, two earned on four hits and fanned nine Chants in the win.
The loss marks the final contest in the 22 year career of Coastal Carolina Head Coach Jess Dannelly. He retires as with 669 career victories, and as the winningest coach in Big South history with 186 conference wins.
The 20 combined runs between the two teams ranks third in Big South Tournament history, as Charleston Southern and Radford combined for the top spot with 27 runs in a single game in 1993.
Gardner-Webb plays the winner of the Winthrop-Charleston Southern contest at 2:30 p.m. Coastal Carolina ends their season with a 15-38 ledger.
Coastal Carolina Head Coach Jess Dannelly
“If we didn’t have that bad first inning we could’ve won. Freddy (Ashley Frederick) was great for us. Garnder-Webb just had a lot of hits and bloopers in that first inning and we couldn’t come back.”
On his retirement: “It’s been one heck of a ride.”
Gardner-Webb Head Coach Tom Cole
“Christine Murray did a heck of a job today,” commented Coach Cole. “Are sticks were incredible today and we are excited about moving on.”