Gardner-Webb Highlights Wednesday's Baseball Action

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GARDNER-WEBB 10, NORTH CAROLINA A&T 7 | BOX SCORE
Brad Collins went 2-for-3 with a home run, an RBI triple and three runs scored to lift Gardner-Webb to a 10-7 win over North Carolina A&T Wednesday.

Former Speaker of the House and 2012 Presidential Candidate Newt Gingrich threw out the ceremonial first pitch on Wednesday in front of a season-best crowd of 615 at John Henry Moss Stadium/Bill Masters Field.

North Carolina A&T (13-27) took a 1-0 lead with an unearned run in the top of the first inning, only to see Gardner-Webb (22-20) tie the game in the second on a sacrifice fly from Zeke Blanton to deep centerfield.

The Aggies rapped out four hits and drove home four runs in the top of the third to jump out to a 5-1 lead, getting RBI from Marquis Riley, Luke Tendler and Dairio Little. Gardner-Webb wasted little time catching up, plating four runs of its own in the bottom half of the fourth.

John Harris followed a walk by Ryan Hodge and a Dusty Quattlebaum single with a two-run triple to trim the lead to 5-3, and scored on an RBI hit by Adam McFarland. Brad Collins scored to tie the game on a fielder's choice and accompanying throwing error before the Aggies could get out of the inning.

Neither team threatened until the sixth, when Collins led off the bottom half with a towering solo home run to left field for a 6-5 Gardner-Webb lead. The Runnin' Bulldogs got a one-out double from Blanton and loaded the bases with a pair of two-out walks, but left all three men on base.

Collins helped spark another rally in the seventh, belting an RBI triple to the wall in right center and scoring on an RBI double from Blanton that gave Gardner-Webb an 8-5 lead. Scott Johnson drove home Adam McFarland with a sacrifice fly for a 9-5 lead.

The Aggies made a push in the top of the eighth, getting a walk and a pair of one-out singles to load the bases and bring the tying run to the plate. Kelvin Freeman drove home a run to trim the lead to 9-6 with a fielder's choice ground ball for the second out, but Hodge ended the threat with a spectacular stab of a ground ball to end the threat.

Hodge led off the bottom of the eight with a single, stole second and came around to score on a throwing error to push the lead to 10-6.

North Carolina A&T got a leadoff double from Bo McMillan and an RBI single from Brandon Wilkerson to trim the lead to 10-7 with one out in the top of the ninth - but closer Adam Izokovic closed the door after that hit to end the game.

Mitch Warner (3-1) picked up the relief win, hurling 3.0 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out three. Brock Wilson, Jeff Howell and Izokovic each hurled an inning out of the pen to close out the game.

Gardner-Webb collected 11 hits in the game, with Collins (2-for-3, 3B, HR, 2 RBI), Hodge (2-for-3, 2 runs) and Blanton (2-for-3, 2 2B, 2 RBI) leading the way.

North Carolina A&T's Shane Carter (1-2) was tagged with the loss out of the pen, allowing three earned runs on four hits and a pair of walks in 4.0 innings of work.

Tendler (2-for-4, 2 RBI), Wilkerson (2-for-4, 3B, RBI) and Radford (2-for-4, RBI) paced the Aggies' 10-hit attack at the plate.

Gardner-Webb will return to Big South Conference play on Friday, hosting VMI in the first of a three-game series at 6:00 pm.

JAMES MADISON 5, VMI 4 (13) | BOX SCORE
In a back and forth contest, the James Madison Dukes saw Casey Goss single home a run in the 13th inning, giving JMU a 5-4 win over the VMI Keydets Wednesday night at Gray-Minor Stadium.

Cole McInturff led off the 13th with a walk against VMI's Reed Garrett (2-3). He was then bunted to second by Tyler Duke, and the next batter, Goss, hit a 1-1 pitch up the middle to score the eventual winning run. Ben Garner (1-2) retired the side in order in the 13th to pick up the victory for the visiting Dukes.

In VMI's longest game of the year, the teams combined to leave 23 runners on base and throw 385 pitches in the 13 innings. Reed Garrett took the loss by surrendering a run in 1/3 of an inning, while Garner allowed just one hit and two walks over his three frames, as he notched the victory. It was the longest VMI baseball game since April 19, 2008, a 16-inning contest at Liberty.

Reed Garrett's run allowed ended a streak of 19 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings by the Keydet bullpen, dating back to the sixth inning of the finale against Campbell on April 21.

The Keydets jumped ahead in the first, when Rob Dickinson hammered a 1-1 pitch well over the right field wall for his fifth home run of the year, and a 1-0 VMI advantage. JMU tied the game in the third, thanks to a RBI double by Evan Scott, squaring the score at 1-1.

The Dukes then pulled ahead in the fourth. McInturff led off the inning with a double, and Duke walked. Goss moved the runners with a bunt, and Ian Haynes was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Johnny Bladel then looped a double over the head of Jacob Morley in right field, scoring two runs, and bringing Jonathan Kelley out of the bullpen. Ty McFarland had an infield hit to plate Haynes, making it 4-1, Dukes, but Kelley then induced a 5-4-3, around the horn double play to limit the damage. The freshman would go on to throw 4 2/3 innings, a career high, and allow just two baserunners.

VMI then got a run back in the sixth, when George Piccirilli led off with an infield hit. Morley was hit by a pitch, and Cameron Walter sacrificed the runners up a base. Nick Dwyer struck out, but a pitch to the next hitter, Gary LeClair, got away for a passed ball. Piccirilli scored to pull VMI within two, 4-2.

That deficit was reduced once again in the seventh, when Matt Winn hammered a double down the left field line. Dickinson then hit a slow hopper to second base, which Goss charged and sidearmed to first. The throw got away from first baseman McFarland for an error, allowing Winn to score and make it a 4-3 contest.

The Keydets had a golden opportunity in the eighth, when Morley tripled into the right center field alley. JMU brought its infield in, and induced back to back slow rollers to shortstop. Chris Huffman then came out of the Duke bullpen and got a third grounder to short, ending the inning without VMI scoring.

Brandon Diamond led off VMI's ninth with a pinch-hit single to right, and Drew Bryan bunted him into scoring position. Huffman got ahead of Winn at 1-2, but the Keydet catcher hit a long drive to left that bounced off the wall, just a few feet shy of a home run. It went for a double and tied the game, 4-4. Sheldon Shifflett pinch-ran for Winn, and JMU countered by walking Dickinson intentionally. Huffman then struck out Piccirilli and Morley, both swinging, to wriggle off the hook and send the game to extra innings.

In the 10th, Walter led off with a single and pinch runner Michael Donovan advanced to second on a wild pitch. Dwyer grounded to second, moving the runner to third base with just one out, but again, Huffman retired each of the next two hitters to extinguish the rally.

The Keydets had yet another threat in the 11th, this time against Garner. Bryan led off with a walk, and Andrew Montague advanced him with a sacrifice bunt. The Dukes walked Dickinson intentionally for the second time, but Piccirilli struck out and Morley flied to center to end the inning.

For the third straight inning in extra frames, the Keydets put a runner in scoring position in the 12th. Garner retired the first two batters, but Brandon Angus hit a 1-2 pitch off the wall in left field for a two-out double. Chase Worthington grounded out to end the inning, however, setting the stage for the 13th.

Neither starter figured in the decision, as VMI's Bach allowed four runs over 3 1/3 innings, walking three. Futter allowed just one run for JMU over five frames. McInturff led JMU's offense by going 3 for 4 and reaching base five times. Morley, Dickinson and Winn had two hits each for VMI, with Dickinson reaching base four times overall.

VMI baseball will return to action Friday, beginning a three-game series in Boiling Springs, N.C. against the Gardner-Webb Bulldogs. Game time is set for 6 p.m.

FURMAN 16, PRESBYTERIAN COLLEGE 4 | BOX SCORE
The Presbyterian College baseball team dropped a midweek non-conference game to visiting Furman on Wednesday afternoon, 16-4.

PC moves to 18-23 on the year while Furman improves to 19-24.

Jay Lizanich led the Blue Hose with a 3-for-3 effort. Andrew Williams, Kenny Bryant, Matt Peden and Brandon Martin each drove in a run for PC while 10 different PC players tallied at least one hit on the day.

Taylor Johnson paced the Paladins by going 4-for-6 with three RBI.

Furman scored seven runs in the game's first inning to take an early lead, though the final three were unearned

The Paladins added two more in the third inning before PC found the scoreboard. Williams brought home Lizanich from second on an RBI double while Bryant plated Billy Motroni via groundout.

Furman used four hits in the fourth to add three more runs and extend the visitors' lead to 12-2. The Paladins tacked on two in the seventh as well.

The Blue Hose took back the Paladins' two runs in the top of the seventh with two in the bottom of the frame. Peden singled a 1-0 pitch through the right side that scored Ryan Burt before Martin brought home Aaron Preston. The inning ended with the bases full of Blue Hose, accounting for three of PC's 14 men left on base. Furman stranded 13 on the day.

Furman tacked on two final runs in the ninth inning before Stewart Curry entered the game and shut down the Paladins with a pair of strikeouts. Ryan Morris also turned in a solid appearance with an inning of one-hit, no-run relief in the eighth.

Matt Nodelman took the loss for PC while Nate Smith received the win for Furman.

PC hits the road this weekend for a three-game Big South Conference series at Radford. The opening game begins on Friday at 6:30 p.m.