COLUMBIA, South Carolina – The UNCW softball team defeated Gardner-Webb, 12-2, in its first contest but fell to host South Carolina by a 2-1 margin in the nightcap as it split its final two games at the Gamecock Invitational Sunday at Beckman Field.

The Seahawks moved to 5-6 overall as they completed the three-day event with a 1-3 record.

UNCW returns to action Feb. 28 as it opens the UNCW Beach Bash with games against Brown (2 p.m.) and UNCG (4:30 p.m.) at Boseman Field.

HOW IT HAPPENED (Gardner-Webb): UNCW raced out to an early 3-0 lead as it used solo home runs from senior Brittany Gamby and junior Jessica Rappe and a squeeze bunt by senior Morgan Ayers to plate a run in each of the first three innings and build the early advantage.

Gardner-Webb got on the board in the bottom half of the third with a RBI groundout by Gomes to make it a 3-1 contest.

The two teams then traded runs in the fourth to make it a 4-2 ballgame before the Seahawks plated two runs in the fifth and six runs in the sixth build a 12-2 cushion and evoke the eight-run rule.

AT THE PLATE (Gardner-Webb): Rappe went 3-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored to power a UNCW lineup that banged out a season-high 14 hits against the Runnin’ Bulldogs. Gamby was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a RBI, senior Morgan Ayers was 1-for-3 with three RBI and freshman Nella Chamblee was 2-for-3 with one run scored.

Megan Gibbons was 3-for-3 with a RBI while Savannah Burns and Samantha Meenaghan tallied two hits each to lead a Gardner-Webb offense that finished with 10 hits.

IN THE CIRCLE (Gardner-Webb): Freshman Jordan Peyton picked up the victory as she improved to 3-2 on the season. Jordan pitched all six innings for the Seahawks, allowing two runs on 10 hits and two walks.

Ashley Rhyne got the start for the Runnin’ Bulldogs and allowed three runs on five hits and two walks in three innings of work. Alyssa Gutierrez and Summer Darnell pitched the final three innings, combining to surrender nine runs (seven earned) on nine hits and one walk.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE (Gardner-Webb): Rappe finished a double shy of the cycle as she record her first triple and homerun of the season … The two teams combined to leave 14 runners on base (Gardner-Webb 8, UNCW 6) … The Seahawks finished with six extra-base hits, including three home runs … UNCW was 4-for-4 in stolen base attempts … UNCW did not commit an error while Gardner-Webb was charged with three errors.  

HOW IT HAPPENED (South Carolina): UNCW took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first as it successfully converted a double steal opportunity that brought Gamby, who reached earlier in the frame with a one-out single, home from third for the early 1-0 advantage.

South Carolina leveled the score at 1-all in the top of the second as it pulled off a double steal of its own to score Jordan Bizzell, who opened the inning with a walk, on the play.  

The Gamecocks broke the tie in the fourth as Ansley Ard singled through the left side to score Bizzell from second to make it a 2-1 ballgame.

UNCW would have a chance to tie the game in its final at-bat, using a leadoff single by Ayers to put the tying run on base. The Seahawks would advance Ayers to scoring position with just one out, but reliever Nicki Blue retired the next two batters she faced to preserve USC’s one-run lead and earn the save.

AT THE PLATE (South Carolina): Ard was 2-for-3 with a RBI and Kaylea Snaer was 2-for-4 to highlight a Gamecock lineup that finished with six hits. Bizzell was 0-for-1 with a walk and two runs scored.

Ayers, Gamby and freshman Merritt Wilkinson combined to record the Seahawks three base hits in the contest.

IN THE CIRCLE (South Carolina): Julie Sarratt improved to 4-1 on the season, allowing one run on two hits and four walks in four innings in the circle. Blue took over for Sarratt in the fifth and surrendered just one hit as she struck out five for her second save of the campaign.

Junior Casey Rowland got the start and pitched one inning, allowing one run on one hit and two walks. Freshman Peyton Jordan replaced Rowland in the second and went the final six innings, allowing one run on five hits and two walks as she saw her season mark evened at 3-3.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE (South Carolina): The two teams combined to leave 15 runners on base (USC 10, UNCW 5) … UNCW was 2-for-3 in stolen base attempts while USC was 2-for-2 … Blue threw 24 of her 38 pitches for strikes while 49 of Jordan’s 85 pitches were strikes … South Carolina had the only two extra-base hits of the ballgame … USC put its leadoff runner on base in four of the first five innings while UNCW put their leadoff hitter on base three times during the contest.  

NOTES:  UNCW improved to 6-9 all-time against Gardner-Webb as the Seahawks halted a four-game losing skid to the Runnin’ Bulldogs … The Seahawks slipped to 0-5 against the Gamecocks as the two teams faced each other for the first time since the 1994 season … The 12 runs scored by UNCW against Gardner-Webb were the most for the Seahawks since plating 14 against North Carolina A&T on March 6, 2013 … UNCW moved to 1-2 this season in one-run contests with the loss to the Gamecocks … The Seahawks also slipped to 0-4 when scoring two runs or fewer … UNCW has scored a run in the first inning in three straight contests … Rappe was the second UNCW player to record three hits in a contest, joining Wilkinson in that category … Gamby has now reached base in each of the last six contests, matching freshman Nella Chamblee for the longest individual streak of the season.