The Flames fall to 7-9 overall and 0-3 in Big South competition, while the Bulldogs improve to 8-10 overall and 3-1 in the Big South.
The doubles session went to Liberty, who took two of three matches. The Flames' No. 1 unit of Diego Castano and Alex Poynter won, 6-2, over Paul Hogan and Johan Fors to get the visitors half of the way to earning the doubles point. Their No. 3 unit, Chase Burton and Max Borcuti, took down Gardner-Webb's Adam Schmidt and Ross Gilbert, 6-3, providing Liberty a 1-0 lead.
The third match was won by the Bulldogs' Maximillian Scholl and Breno Plentz in a tiebreaker (7-6 (3)) over the Flames' Vince Salas and Eddie Gutierrez, on court two.
Needing to split the singles session to earn their first conference win of 2017, the Flames dropped four of their six individual matches with their Bulldog counterparts.
In the No. 1 match, Scholl won in straight sets (6-1, 6-3) over Salas, evening the score at 1-1. Fors followed it up with a two-set triumph over Poynter on court six to put the home side ahead 2-1, a lead they would not relinquish.
The remaining four matches all took three sets to settle, starting with the No. 3 bout between Castano and Plentz. The two players split the first two sets before Plentz captured the third set and the match, 6-1, 2-6, 6-3. Gardner-Webb's lead grew to 3-1 with Plentz's win.
Liberty's Burton helped the Flames stave off defeat in his match with Hogan. The freshman won the first and third sets of his match to defeat Hogan, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 in the No. 2 slot. Burton's ninth singles win of the spring trimmed the Bulldog lead to 3-2.
|Burton won a three-set match on court two, Saturday against Gardner-Webb.|
The final match (Gutierrez vs. Schmidt) to wrap up went to Gutierrez in a lengthy three-set battle, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5. Gutierrez's ninth singles win of the spring ties for the most on the team with Burton.
The Flames will be back in action on Sunday, taking on No. 17 Georgia Tech (10-2, 3-0 ACC) at 5:30 p.m. at the Ken Byers Tennis Complex in Atlanta, Ga.