ATLANTA – On the opening day of the 3N2 Invitational at Emory University, the Bridgewater Eagles softball team was victorious over Mississippi College in the opener before falling to 23rd-ranked Emory in the nightcap.
Bridgewater defeated Mississippi College by a 6-1 tally in game one before falling to Emory by a 4-0 score in the second game.
Mississippi College struck first in the opener. In the bottom of the first, a groundout from Kimmie Conley drove in Erica Johns to put the Choctaws up 1-0 after an inning of play.
Following a scoreless second, the Eagles drew the game to a 1-1 deadlock in the top of the third. After a groundout to open the inning, senior Sarah Goodman drew a walk to put a runner on base before she was driven in two batters later by a double to the centerfield fence from Melanie Lamb to knot the game up at a run each.
Starting pitcher Heather Jenkins mowed through the Choctaws in order in the third before the Eagles took the lead for good in the top of the fourth.
Junior Brea Hinegardner laced a double to the right-field gap and was replaced on the base paths by freshman Haley Lloyd. Lloyd scored the go-ahead run two batters later on an error by the catcher as the Eagles took a 2-1 lead after three and a half.
Mississippi threatened in the bottom of the inning but a Goodman throw out from left field thwarted the scoring opportunity and kept the Eagles in front by a 2-1 score after four complete.
Both pitchers settled in during the fifth and sixth with the Eagles still maintaining a slim lead as the game headed to the final inning.
Bridgewater exploded for four runs in the top of the seventh to blow the game wide open. Junior Kasey Anderson opened the inning with a single down the right field line before swiping second base to put an early runner in scoring position.
Goodman reached on an error by the second baseman to put runners on the corners.
Freshman Brooke Throckmorton grounded into a fielder's choice where Anderson was gunned down at home as the Eagles had runners at first and second with one away.
Senior Melanie Lamb belted a double to left field to push in Goodman, extending the lead to 3-1. Jenkins helped her own cause with a triple to right field, plating Throckmorton and Lamb to build a 5-1 Bridgewater advantage.
Hinegardner singled through the left side to round out the scoring, pushing home Jenkins in the process to put the Eagles in front 6-1, which is how things would end.
Bridgewater pounded out 11 hits in the opener, with the 4-7 hitters accounting for 10 hits combined. Lamb was stellar at the plate, going 4-for-4 on the afternoon with a pair of RBI. Hinegardner added a 3-for-4 day while senior Aven Thomas finished the day 2-for-3.
Jenkins earned the win after allowing just one run on four hits. The senior hurler struck out four in a complete game effort.
Sophomore Ashley Greenway led the Choctaws offense with two hits, including a double while Conley was tagged with the loss after allowing two runs on five hits in four innings of relief.
Emory (11-0) got on the board in the first inning of the nightcap before using a three-run fourth to pull away from the Eagles.
After a scoreless first for Bridgewater, Emory first baseman Megan Light drilled a double to right center field scoring Ally Kersthold to put the host team up by a 1-0 score.
Both teams settled in and were put down in order in the second before Bridgewater looked to threaten in the third. Senior Morgan Williams drew a one-out walk and was put out at second on an Anderson fielder's choice. Anderson looked to get in scoring position during the ensuing at bat but was gunned down trying to steal second to end the inning.
Thomas, the game-two starter, put the Emory side down in order in the third while the Eagles were held off of the scoreboard in the top of the fourth.
Emory extended its lead in the bottom of the fourth with the help of a Bridgewater miscue. After an error on the shortstop allowed Moira Sullivan to reach base safely an Alyssa Pollard bunt single loaded the bases for Emory with one away. Meaghan Schultz kept the bases loaded after she reached on a fielder's choice, but Light was gunned down at home by freshman Karie Burgess to keep the score at a one-run Emory lead.
Emory's Claire Bailey followed with a single to center field, driving in Sullivan, while Brianna Berceau belted a double to plate Pollard and pinch runner Courtney Sugihara, building a 4-0 advantage after four complete.
Following a silent fifth and sixth inning, Bridgewater looked to get on the board in the seventh. Lamb led the inning off with a single through the left side before being replaced on the base paths by freshman Brea Kehr. Kehr advanced to second on a groundout and reached third on a Hinegardner single but a strike out ended the rally and the game as Bridgewater fell by a 4-0 tally.
Throckmorton, Lamb, Burgess and Hinegardner each tallied a hit in the loss to lead the Bridgewater offense.
Thomas was tagged with the loss after she allowed four runs on seven hits in a complete game performance.
Seven different players recorded a hit each for Emory in the win.
Amanda Kardys earned her seventh victory of the year with a four-hit shutout.
Bridgewater wraps up play at the 3N2 Invitational on Sunday morning. The Eagles play Mississippi at 10 a.m. before battling Emory at noon.