BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. (Feb. 25, 2003) -- Gardner-Webb got its third-straight complete-game pitching effort Tuesday, as Abe Gonzalez struck out 13 batters in nine innings to lead the Bulldogs to a 9-0 win over East Tennessee State.
The Buccaneers fell to 4-3 on the season, while Gardner-Webb improved its record to 7-2 with the win.
Gonzalez (1-0) was magnificent all afternoon, improving his career record on Gardner-Webbıs home field to 6-0. The Miami, Fla., junior worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the top of the second with an inning ending strikeout, and proceeded to retire the next 14 batters before the visiting Bucs could recover.
Gardner-Webb broke open a scoreless tie with five runs on six hits in the bottom of the third. Jim Glueckert led off the inning with a double to left, and advanced to third on a bunt single by Clint Abernathy with one out. After ETSU starter Willie McKenzie recorded the second out of the inning, Gardner-Webbıs Sam Bradford executed a perfect suicide squeeze bunt for an RBI single to score Gluckert for a 1-0 GWU lead. David Futrelle followed with a long triple to center that scored Abernathy and Bradford, and Ryan Quirello launched a two-run home run over the left field fence for a 5-0 Gardner-Webb lead.
Senior starter Willie McKenzie (Kingsport, Tenn.), a 6-foot-7, 225-pound transfer from Louisville, was pulled after the Bulldogs' outburst, but GWU would add two runs off of sophomore reliever Mike Bauer (Kingsport, Tenn.) in the sixth. Bradford drove in a pair of runs with an RBI single in the inning, plating Glueckert and Jonathan McKoy for a 7-0 Gardner-Webb lead.
The Bulldogs struck again with one run each in the seventh and eighth inning, as Abernathy capped off the scoring with his second home run of the season in the bottom of the eighth for the final margin. Bennett drove in Quirello with an RBI single in the seventh.
Gonzalez scattered six hits on the afternoon and walked only one ETSU batter in his best outing of the season. Teammates Jeff Long and Joey Siak each posted complete-game victories over North Carolina A&T on Sunday.
McKenzie (0-1) took the loss for ETSU, lasting 3.0 innings and striking out two batters while allowing five earned runs on six hits. The Bucs had six different batters collect hits on the afternoon.
ETSU returns to action this weekend against Mississippi State for single games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Starkville, Miss.