VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Bridgewater College erased a 4-2 deficit in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader with three runs in the seventh inning and held on to defeat Virginia Wesleyan 6-5. The victory allowed the Eagles to salvage an important split as the Marlins won the opener 11-9.
In Saturday's first game, the Eagles got on the scoreboard in the top of the first. Chris King reached on a two-out single and Kenner Berry followed with a run-scoring double to put Bridgewater on top 1-0.
The lead didn't last long as the Marlins scored seven times in the bottom of the first. Four hits, three walks, a hit batter and two Bridgewater errors fueled the outburst.
Austin Batten's two-run double in the top of the fourth trimmed the deficit to 7-3, but the Marlins answered with four runs in the bottom half of the inning to lead 11-3. Taylor Erby belted a solo homer for the hosts in the bottom of the fourth.
Bridgewater made things interesting with six runs in the eighth.
Jacob Talley walked to lead off the inning and moved to second on a wild pitch. After Parker Mead walked, Talley swiped third to put runners on the corners with no outs. Talley scored on a single to center by Brandon Poole, making the score 11-4.
With one out in the inning, King reached on an error to load the bases and Berry followed with a run-scoring single to pull the Eagles closer at 11-5.
Riley Koonce was summoned from the Marlins bullpen and he retired the next two batters to strand three runners on the bases, keeping the margin at 11-9.
The Eagles brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth as King reached on a single, but Koonce struck out the next two hitters to preserve the victory for the Marlins.
King and Berry each finished 3-for-6 in the opener to pace the Eagles' 11-hit attack.
The Eagles once again jumped out to a lead with a run in the top of the first to start the second game. Brandon Poole walked to lead off the inning and moved into scoring position on a passed ball. Poole scored on Kenner Berry's two-out single for a 1-0 Eagles lead
Just like in Game 1, the lead didn't last long as the Marlins tallied twice in the bottom half of the inning to grab the lead. Consecutive doubles by Brandon Kussmaul and Corey King to open the inning tied the score and a single by Randy Neisz gave the host team a 2-1 edge.
A run in the bottom of the third put the Marlins on top 3-1 before a run by the Eagles in the top of the fourth trimmed the margin back to a single run. With one out, Talley singled and Cameron Stanley walked. Talley moved to third on a groundout and then scored on a single by Poole to pull the Eagles to within 3-2.
Virginia Wesleyan (13-12, 4-5 in the ODAC), however, got the run back in the bottom of the fourth on Brady Fallon's sacrifice fly, making the score 4-2.
The score remained 4-2 until the seventh when the Eagles took the lead with three runs.
With one out, Batten got the Eagles started with a single up the middle. After King struck out, Berry kept the inning alive with a single through the left side of the infield. Pinch-hitter Brett Jones then delivered a clutch two-run double to the opposite field, tying the score at 4-4. After a Marlins' pitching change, JT Creed singled to put runners on the corners and Talley followed with a single to left, scoring Jones to give the Eagles a 5-4 lead.
Bridgewater added what proved to be a huge insurance run in the eighth, With one out, Poole reached on a throwing error and continued to second on the play. A single by Batten moved Poole to third with King due up next. King hit a grounder to short and Poole scored when the Marlins were unable to turn the double play.
The run proved vital when Virginia Wesleyan's Justin Erby belted a two-out, solo homer in the bottom of the ninth to make it a one-run game. Eagles' lefty Andrew Berry then retired Neisz on a ground ball to short to preserve the 6-5 Bridgewater victory.
Andrew Berry pitched the final three innings to pick up the victory. He allowed one run on two hits while walking one and striking out three batters.
Kenner Berry capped a strong day at the plate with a 3-for-4 effort in the second game. Talley finished 3-for-3 with a run scored and one run batted in. Batten and Creed added two hits each.
Bridgewater (11-15, 4-5 in the ODAC) returns to action Wednesday afternoon when the Eagles travel to Harrisonburg to play Eastern Mennonite. Game time is set for 4:00 p.m.