RADFORD, Va. – The No. 4 seed Campbell softball team (29-28) was one out from victory, but saw No. 5 seed Gardner-Webb score three runs in the top of the seventh inning to rally for a 4-2 victory in the first round of the Big South Softball Tournament presented by Musco Sports Lighting and Brookwood Farms BBQ on Thursday, May 10, at RU Softball Field.
Christina Melton (4-7) was tagged with the loss for Campbell and allowed four runs in throwing a complete game. Melton stuck out seven and only just six hits and a walk in the defeat. The win was earned in relief by Gardner-Webb's Cindy Boomhower (11-6). Boomhower was unscored upon in her three innings of relief of starter Jessica Childers.
Gardner-Webb's seventh inning began on Morgan Baker's lead-off double off the wall in left field. A sacrifice bunt moved pinch runner Jane Savage to third. A strikeout was then recorded by Melton of pinch hitter, Elizabeth Williams, for the second out. Down to their final chance, Kellie Beres then singled past the CU shortstop and into left field to score Savage and tie the game at two all. GWU kept the momentum going as Melinda Dulkowski homered to left field to give the Runnin' Bulldogs the 4-2 lead.
The Camels were able to load the bases in the bottom of the frame with no one out. Freshman Ericka Nesbitt reached on a throwing error from the GWU pitcher to start the promising inning. Fellow freshman Camise Patterson followed with a single to right field. Stephanie Jones then punished a single to left field to load the bases with no one out. A fielder's choice followed that eliminated Nesbitt at the plate. Gardner-Webb then turned a double play with the GWU second baseman tagging the runner and throwing on to first base to end the potential threat and game for Campbell.
Melton pitched out of a no-out error in the second inning as the senior got a ground out and two strikeouts to keep the game scoreless.
The Camels picked up a pair of base runners in the third inning. Nesbitt reached on a two-out double to center field. Patterson followed with a walk to put two runners on base, but that was as far as either runner could get as a ground out ended the frame.
GWU took the team's first lead in the fourth inning. McKenzie Morenus was hit by a pitch and scored all the way from first on Savannah Burn's triple past the CU right fielder.
The Camels took the lead in the fifth inning. Freshman Erica Johnson and sophomore Raven Lee singled back-to-back to start the frame. After a strikeout, Nesbitt reached on bunt single to load the base. Another strikeout followed before Stephanie Jones singled to right field to plate pinch runners freshman Brittany Bruce and sophomore Jessi Lane and give the Camels a 2-1 advantage after five.
The Camels will now play an elimination game against the loser of Radford/Winthrop at 7 p.m. tonight at RU Softball Field.