DEMOREST, Ga. –Bridgewater College rode a strong start from senior Kyle Henshaw to a 7-4 victory over Emory University in the NCAA South Region tournament at Piedmont College's Loudermilk Field.
The victory sets up an All-ODAC showdown in the winner's bracket as the Eagles will meet Shenandoah University for the sixth time this season. The Eagles-Shenandoah contest will begin at 5:45 Friday afternoon.
The victory marked the first time a Bridgewater team has won two games in a regional tournament. The win was also No. 35 this season for the Eagles, breaking the program record for wins in a season that was set a year ago.
The Eagles threatened in the bottom of the first inning when Zach Hynes singled with one out and then stole second. Hynes moved to third on a single by Bryan Sanderson, putting runners at the corners. Sanderson was thrown out at second on a steal attempt and Justin Petock lined out to right center, ending the Eagles threat.
Bridgewater took the lead in the bottom of the second inning. Bay Liskey singled to center with one out and moved to second on a single to left by Derrik Walling. Darren Yoder put the Eagles on the board with a run-scoring single to right for a 1-0 lead. Bridgewater took advantage of two Emory errors to add two more runs, making the score 3-0 after two innings.
Emory got on the board with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth. With one out, Daniel Iturrey singled to kick start the Emory offense. After Henshaw struck out Wes Peacock, Jared Welch doubled down the left-field line, putting two runners in scoring position. Jordan Selbach chased both runners home with a single through the left side of the infield, pulling Emory to within one, 3-2. The runs were the first allowed by the Eagles staff in the first 15.2 innings of the South Region tournament.
Bridgewater answered with three runs in the bottom half of the fourth. Walling got things started with a one-out double to right. A single through the left side by Hunter Hensley put runners on the corners with one out. Yoder then lined a single to left, scoring Walling to make it 4-2. Hynes followed with a run-scoring single to left and Sanderson added a run-scoring single up the middle to give the Eagles a 6-2 lead.
The Eagles tacked on another run in the fifth. Howell led off with a single to center and Liskey followed with a single to left. Both runners moved up on a sacrifice bunt by Walling. Hensley walked to load the bases and Howell scored on Nick Fulk's single to the hole at short, giving Bridgewater a 7-2 lead.
Emory closed to with 7-4 with a pair of unearned runs in the top of the eighth. With two outs, Brett Lake scored on an Eagles throwing error, making the score 7-3. Welch greeted Bridgewater reliever Jordan Showalter with a RBI-double off the left-field wall, trimming the Eagles lead to 7-4. Showalter then fanned Selbach to end the inning with the Eagles holding a three-run lead.
Dillon Via worked the ninth to pick up the save as the Eagles closed out the 7-4 victory.
Except for the hiccup in the fourth inning, Henshaw was dominant. The senior, now 7-2, allowed eight hits in 7.2 innings. He struck out a career-high 10 batters and did not issue a walk.
The offense banged out 13 hits with five different players – Hynes, Sanderson, Liskey, Walling and Yoder - each contributing a pair of hits. Yoder drove in two of the Eagles seven runs.