Brevard takes a bite out of GWU, tops Runnin' Bulldogs 8-6April 4, 2012
Eighth inning rally leads Tornados over NCAA Division I opponent
Boiling Springs, N.C. - Brevard sent 11 men to the plate in the eighth inning, rapping out seven hits and scoring six runs to erase a 6-2 deficit and take an 8-6 win at Gardner-Webb Wednesday night.
The Tornados (19-20) rapped out 15 hits in the game - all singles - to pick up their first win against an NCAA Division I opponent in program history. Gardner-Webb (16-14) got the tying runs on board with two outs in the eighth, but could not get even and the Runnin' Bulldogs went down in order in the ninth to preserve the BC victory.
Brevard jumped out a 1-0 lead in the top of the third, but Gardner-Webb answered with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning to go up 2-1. Consecutive singles from Zeke Blanton, Danny Yelverton and Benji Jackson tied the score, and a sacrifice fly from Dusty Quattlebaum gave the 'Dogs a 2-1 edge.
The Tornados took advantage of a Gardner-Webb error in the fifth to tie the score, getting a sacrifice fly from Champ Stuart to plate Zach Merriken.
Gardner-Webb surged in front with a pair of runs in both the sixth and seventh innings, getting a two-run single from Brad Collins in the sixth to go up 4-2 and a two-out, two-run single from John Harris in the seventh to build a 6-2 edge.
Brevard rallied in the top of the eighth to seize control of the game, rolling three consecutive singles to start the frame - and getting a fourth from Eric Renegar to drive in Tarron Robinson and cut the score to 6-3. Reliever Mitch Warner fanned the next Tornado batter for the first out of the inning. Chris Christopoulos singled through the left side off of closer Adam Izokovic to trim the lead to 6-4, bringing the top of the order to the plate for the Tornados.
Stuart blooped an RBI single into shallow centerfield to cut the lead to 6-5 and kept the bases juiced for the visitors. Kramer Clark followed with an RBI knock to right center to tie the score, 6-6 and Izokovic walked in the go ahead run. Robinson drove in the sixth run of the inning with a sacrifice fly to center, giving Brevard an 8-6 lead.
A leadoff walk and a two-out single from Blanton put the tying run on board for Gardner-Webb in the eighth, but Danny Yelverton lined out to short to end the inning.
Reliever Dustin Haithcox (2-1) earned the win, despite allowing a pair of runs on a hit and two walks in an inning of work. After Brevard took its lead in the eighth, Thomas Gill came on to earn his first save of the season, fanning two and allowing just one hit in 2.0 scoreless innings of work.
Renegar (3-for-5) led Brevard's 15-hit attack, with five other Tornado hitters collecting two safeties each.
Izokovic (3-1) was tagged with the loss in relief, giving up two runs on three hits and a walk in 1.2 innings pitched. Starter Andrew Barnett allowed just one earned run in 5.1 innings of a no decision. Southpaw reliever Mitch Warner gave up four runs on four hits in 2.0 innings out of the pen - with all the runs coming in the eighth inning.
Zeke Blanton (2-for-3, 2 runs, SB) and John Harris (2-for-4, 2 RBI) each had two of Gardner-Webb's nine hits Wednesday night.
Brevard returns home to Gil Coan Field as the Tornados begin a South Atlantic Conference weekend series against Wingate University on Saturday, April 6th. First pitch between the Tornados and the Bulldogs for the nine-inning weekend opener is set for 3 p.m.