BRIDGEWATER, Va. - Lynchburg College held on for a 9-8 victory in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader to complete a sweep of Bridgewater College in ODAC softball action. The Hornets won the opener 8-0 in six innings on Fulk Field.
Lynchburg (21-7, 6-2 in the ODAC) scored three runs in the top of the first inning to grab the lead in the second game, but the Eagles responded with five runs in the bottom half of the first to take the upper hand.
Lindsey Talley walked to lead off the bottom of the first and moved around to third on a single to right by Victoria Gontarz. Mikalia Guard tied the contest with a towering homer to left center, making the score 3-3. Anna Patterson then walked and Katie Merhout reached on an error in centerfield. An errant pickoff throw by the catcher allowed Patterson to score with Merhout moving around to third on the play. After Allison Patrick walked, Stephanie Carroll singled to score Merhout, putting the Eagles on top 5-3.
The Hornets countered with four runs in the top of the second to take the lead 7-5. Kayla Hugate delivred the key blow with a two-run triple to tie the score at 5-5. Hugate scored on an error and Taylor Mabry doubled home a run, giving the visitors a 7-5 advantage.
RBI-singles by Mabry and Logan Walker in the top of the fourth pushed the Hornets' lead to 9-5, but the Eagles answered with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the fourth.
Rayn Kirtner led off the fourth with a single to center and a single by Talley put two runners on with no outs. Gontarz then chased Kirtner home with a single off the third baseman's glove, making the score 9-6. Guard followed with a single to center, scoring Talley to pull the Eagles to within 9-7. After Patterson struck out, Merhout singled to load the bases. The Hornets avoided further damage when Lacey Shifflett grounded into a 5-2-3 double play to end the inning.
The Eagles moved closer in the bottom of the fifth. With one out, Carroll walked and Kirtner followed with a single through the left side of the infield. Talley then hit a grounder to second and Kirtner was tagged out on the play for the second out of the inning. Gontarz came through with a clutch single through the right side of the infield, scoring Carroll to pull the Eagles to within a single run, 9-8. With runners on the corners, the Hornets made a pitching change, handing the ball to Conner English, the winning pitcher in Saturday's first game. English struck out Guard to end the inning, preserving the one run lead.
English then retired the Eagles in order in the final two innings, striking out five of the six batters she faced to earn the save in the 9-8 victory.
The Eagles' bats came alive in the second game as they finished with 11 hits. Gontarz was 3-for-4 with two RBIs and Guard finished 2-for-4 with four runs batted in. Kirtner added two hits in four at-bats.
Bridgewater could not get the offense untracked in the opener as English and Stpehanie Hogan combined on a one-hit shutout.
Lynchburg scored a run in the first on a single by Skylar Dickens and a double by Mabry and the Hiornets then broke the game open with five runs in the third inning to lead 6-0. Sarah Commons delivered the big blow in the third with a two-run triple.
English pitched the first four inning and did not allow a hit. She struck out seven and walked just one batter.
Hogan entered the game in the fifth and pitched two shutout frames. The Eagles broke up the no-hit bid in the fifth when Merhout lined a clean single to rightcenter off Hogan.
The Eagles, now 7-15 overall and 2-4 in the ODAC, return to action Wednesday afternoon when they make the short trip to Harrisonburg for a conference doubleheader at Eastern Mennonite.