Charleston Southern (20-36) watched a late lead squander for the second straight day as Gardner-Webb (31-27) overcame a 2-0 with four runs in the seventh inning to escape with a 4-3 victory over the Bucs on Wednesday afternoon in the Big South Baseball Championships at Coy O. Williard Stadium on the campus of High Point University.
Charlie McCready (4-6) tossed six scoreless innings to start the game for CSU before Gardner-Webb finally got to him in the bottom of the seventh. The Runnin' Bulldogs got a leadoff double from Brad Collins before Scott Johnson had his ground ball to shortstop booted by Buccaneer shortstop Alex Tomasovich to put runners on the corners with no outs. A double from Benji Jackson into the left center gap would tie the game 2-2 and scored on a single up the middle from Adam Tiller that would end McCready's afternoon.Zach Hagaman would come on in relief to get the first batter he faced with a ground out but would then walk the next three batters and give GWU a 4-2 lead. Denis Buckley came in to relieve Hagaman to get the final out of the inning.
McCready finished the day going 6.1 innings, allowing four runs (two earned) on four hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
CSU struck first in the top of the second as Robbie Streett reached on an error by Gardner-Webb shortstop Ryan Hodge to start the frame. Chase Shelton singled through the right side to give the Bucs runners on the corners and two batters later, Walt Quattlebaum lined an RBI single into left field to put the Bucs on top 1-0.
The top of the fifth would see the Bucs tack on one more run in the fifth by rallying with two outs. Bobby Ison had a two out double and Jaren Sustar followed him with a triple into the right field corner to score Ison and extend the lead to 2-0.
With the Runnin' Bulldogs leading 4-2 in the ninth, Quattlebaum hit his fifth home run of the season deep over the fence in left center to cut the deficit to 4-3 but that would be all for the Bucs as Jeff Howell entered the game to get the final two outs for his first save of the year.
The Bucs tallied eight hits on the day, including two-hit performances from Sustar and Quattlebaum.
Corey Deighan threw the final out for CSU, making appearance number 99 of his career, tying him for eighth on the all-time Big South rankings and tying him for third on the Charleston Southern all-time list.
Gardner-Webb was led offensively by Scott Johnson who went 2-for-4 and Jackson who was 1-for-4 with two RBIs.
The loss eliminates the Bucs from the Big South Baseball Championships, thus ending their season.