CHARLESTON, S.C. - Morgan Baker connected on a three-run home run for Gardner-Webb in the top of the fourth inning as the Runnin' Bulldogs plated seven runs in topping Charleston Southern, 7-1, in Saturday's Big South weekend opener at the CSU Softball Field.
Ari Tedesco recorded an RBI single for the Bucs in the bottom of the third inning, but the CSU bats were limited by Ashley Rhyne (6-11) as the right-hander scattered five hits in picking up her sixth win of the season.
Charleston Southern falls to 10-37 overall, 3-16 in Big South Conference play on the season, while Gardner-Webb improves to 10-27, 5-14 in conference action.
Jennifer Giles (6-27)suffered the loss in the contest for the Bucs, throwing 3.2 innings in the start, allowing all seven runs (four earned), while striking out two. Linzy Rother closed out the final 3.1 innings in scattering four hits with two strikeouts.
Rhyne went the distance in the complete game, allowing five hits and the one run, while striking out nine CSU batters in the contest.
Charleston Southern opened the scoring in the bottom of the third inning, rallying with two outs to plate the first run of the game.
Hayes Holdsworth drew a two-out walk and Lizzy Olmstead entered the game as a runner. Olmstead stole second base and came around to score on Tedesco's single through the gap between the first and second baseman to put the Bucs ahead 1-0 after three innings.
Gardner-Webb responded with seven runs in the top of the fourth inning to take control of the game.
Mariana Gallardo opened put the Runnin' Bulldogs ahead with a one-out bases loaded double in the right centerfield gap, scoring Melinda Dulkowski and Scarlett Harris to put Gardner-Webb ahead 2-1. Elizabeth Williams and Samantha Meenaghan also drove in runs in the inning before Baker connected on the big blast, driving the ball down the left field line, over the fence for a three-run home run to give Gardner-Webb the six run advantage.
Charleston Southern put runners on base in each of their final four at-bats, with Stephanie Sbardella reaching third in the fourth on Rother's base hit, and Sbardella was again in scoring position in the sixth inning, but the Bucs offense was unable to push a run across the plate as CSU fell on Saturday afternoon, 7-1.
The Bucs and Runnin' Bulldogs are back in action tomorrow afternoon in a doubleheader at the CSU Softball Field. First pitch of the first game is set for 1 p.m., with Senior Day festivities occurring on the field between games as Charleston Southern recognizes its six 2013 seniors in Jasmine Conley, Courtney Konyk, Jana Matthews, Linzy Rother, Trea Steeleand Melanie Stickney.