CSU falls to Gardner-Webb, 15-10

Charleston Southern baseball
Charleston Southern baseball(Live 5 News)
Published: May. 20, 2023 at 12:48 AM EDT
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BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – Gardner-Webb jumped out to an early lead and cruised to a 15-3 win over Charleston Southern Friday to clinch a spot in the Big South Conference Baseball Championship.

The Runnin’ Bulldogs (31-22, 15-11 Big South) scored five runs in the second, three in the fifth and six in the seventh to win the series.

After Trevor Mattson drove home Jacob Marcos with a sacrifice fly in the first, Gardner-Webb seized control of the game for good.

Nick Capozzi reached on a one-out error, moved to second on a wild pitch and sprinted home on Ryan Kennell’s RBI single into right. Jacob Marcos followed with a single and the throw allowed both he and Kennell to move into scoring position. Mark Black followed with a long, three-run home run to left to put Gardner-Webb up 5-0.

An RBI double from Nate Anderson closed out the scoring for that inning and the Runnin’ Bulldogs were firmly in control.

James Jett led off the third with a solo home run to get Charleston Southern on the board, but Gardner-Webb added three runs in the fifth inning to go up 9-1.

Anderson led off the fifth and reached on an error. Humberto Torres followed with a big blow, belting a fastball deep over the fence in left for an 8-1 lead. Peter Capobianco followed by ripping a single down the third base line and Kennell drove him home with a ground ball too short for a 9-1 lead.

Charleston Southern scored two more in the sixth, but Gardner-Webb went up by 12 runs with its six-run rally after the stretch.

Anderson singled, stole second and scored easily on a Capozzi single to left. Marcos was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Black came through with a grand slam to push the lead to 15-3 before the Buccaneers could get back into the dugout.

The game appeared comfortably out of reach in the top of the eighth, but control problems from the GWU bullpen and three hits led to seven runs for the Buccaneers as they trimmed the lead to 15-10.

Jacob McCaskey came on to finish the game on the mound in the ninth for Gardner-Webb

Tyler Switalski (8-5) picked up the win with another quality start, hurling 6.2 innings and allowing just three runs on five hits. Luke Goodyear (0.2) came on to end the wild eighth inning and McCaskey closed the door in the ninth.

Gardner-Webb had 17 hits on Friday, with Black (3-for-5, 2 HR, 7 RBI), Robison (3-for-4) and Anderson (3-for-5) leading the way. Capozzi, Marcos and Kennell each had two hits in the game.

Charleston Southern finished with eight hits, led by Jett’s two hits in three at bats.

Sam Massey (1-5) took the mound loss, allowing six runs (four earned) in 1.1 innings of work.

The teams will conclude the series on Saturday at 1:00 pm (ESPN+). Gardner-Webb will recognize its senior class on Saturday at 12:30 pm.