Andrew Widell broke a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the seventh with a two-run double and Austin Weekley pitched three innings of shutout relief as Charleston Southern took the series finale against visiting Gardner-Webb on Sunday afternoon at the CSU Ballpark, 5-3.
Widell's double came with one out in the bottom of the seventh to put the Buccaneers back in the lead for good as his shot in the left-center field gap drove in Sam Remick and Bobby Ison to put CSU ahead, 5-3. Weekley (2-6) closed out the action over the final two innings, allowing one runner on base in both the eighth and ninth innings, but the CSU defense held behind the junior reliever in completing the victory.
"We talked about this coming into this series," CSU baseball coach Stuart Lake had to say following the game. "You'd like to go into every series and sweep the team. But that's really hard to do. So let's try to win series and see where we stand at the end of the season. Taking two out of three from any conference opponent is always a good thing. This was one of those "must wins" if you want to say something like that. We are on the road for the next two weeks, so this is huge for us."
Charleston Southern improves to 18-20 overall, 4-11 in Big South Conference play.
Gardner-Webb (16-20, 7-8) battled back into the game in the sixth and seventh innings, cutting a 3-1 deficit in bringing it back to a tie game before Widell's heroics in the seventh.
The Runnin' Bulldogs cut the lead to 3-2 in the sixth inning as Henry Rundio singled in Scott Johnson with one out in the inning, while GWU tied the game in the seventh on Tyler Best's RBI single.
Gardner-Webb was the first to score in the contest, plating a run in the top of the first inning to take the early lead. With two outs, Matt Simmons connected on the pitch from CSU starter Andrew Tomasovich for an RBI single up the middle, scoring JJ Nazzaro to put the Runnin' Bulldogs ahead.
Charleston Southern took the lead in the bottom of the inning. Ison led off with a single up the middle, advancing to second on a Widell sacrifice bunt. Alex Tomasovich followed with a double to centerfield, scoring Ison to knot the game at 1. Two batters later, Zack Hagaman followed with a double of his own, this one to right center to plate Tomasovich and give CSU the 2-1 lead.
Ison provided the key hit for the Bucs in the bottom of the second inning, pushing the CSU advantage to 3-1 early on an RBI single to score Kevin Hickey with two outs against Erik Heiligenstadt (2-5).
Weekley picked up his second win of the season in throwing three innings of shutout relief. He scattered three hits while striking out one in the effort on the afternoon. Tomasovich went the first six innings in the contest, allowing nine hits and all three GWU runs on the afternoon, while striking out two.
Ison reached base in four of his five plate appearances with two hits, two runs, two walks and an RBI. Hickey added two hits.
The Buccaneers are next at No. 4 South Carolina on Tuesday at 7 p.m.