LYNCHBURG, Va. - Bridgewater College settled for a split Saturday afternoon in a conference twinbill at Lynchburg. The Eagles took a 4-1 lead to the bottom of the ninth in the first game, but the Hornets took advantage of three Eagles errors to rally for a 5-4 win. The Eagles salvaged a split with a 3-2 victory in the second game.
The Eagles trailed 1-0 after five innings in the opener, but pushed across a run in the sixth to tie the score. Jacob Talley led off the inning with a double and moved to third on Luke Paczewski's groundout to second. Cameron Stanley walked to put runners on the corners with one out. Talley scored the tying run when the Hornets were unable to turn the double play on Brett Jones' grounder to second.
Bridgewater (13-22, 7-12 in the ODAC) took the lead with a pair of runs in the eighth. With one out, Stanley walked and Jones was hit by a pitch. After Kevin Navedo flied out to left, pinch-hitter Ryan Skadra chased Stanley home with a single to right, giving the Eagles a 2-1 lead. Matthew LaPrade then walked to load the sacks and Jones scored from third on a passed ball to make it 3-1.
The Eagles added another run in the top of the ninth. Jarrett Biesecker led off the inning with a single, but was thrown out trying to steal second. Talley then tripled to right-center and scored on a two-out single by Stanley, increasing the lead to 4-1.
Bridgewater, however, was unable to put the game away in the bottom half of the ninth. Brandon Pond started the inning with a single off reliever Ryan Mason and a pair of Eagles errors loaded the bases with no outs. Tucker Garrison entered the game on the mound for the Eagles and struck out the first batter he faced. Garrett Jackson then hit a grounder to the left side where Navedo made a diving stop. His throw to second, however, was not in time to record the force out and a run scored on the play to pull the Hornets closer at 4-2. With the bases still full, Avery Combs then blooped a single to shallow left, scoring two runs to tie the game. The winning run scored on Bridgewater's third error of the inning as the Hornets took the 5-4 win.
Lynchburg (17-18, 10-9 in the ODAC) grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second game with a run in the first inning, but Bridgewater knotted the score with a run in the top of the third. With one out, LaPrade was safe on an error and moved to third on a base hit by Jacob Grabeel. LaPrade scored on Biesecker's groundout, tying the game at 1-1.
The Eagles moved ahead with two runs in the fourth. Paczewski led off with a single and moved to second on a one-out single by Navedo. With two outs and two on, Phillip Herber singled to left, scoring Paczewsli to put the Eagles up 2-1. LaPrade followed with a run-scoring hit up the middle, driving home Navedo for a 3-1 Eagles lead.
The game didn't end without some controversy as the Hornets threatened in the ninth. With one out, Kaden Warren was hit by a pitch, putting the tying run on base. Tharp struck out Jackson for the second out of the inning, but Warren then stole second to move into scoring position. Holden Fiedler then hit a grounder to third and Eagles' first baseman Paczewski dug out Navedo's low throw across the diamond for what appeared to be the final out of the game. The play was ruled an out by the first-base umpire, but after a discussion the homeplate umpire overturned the call, giving the Hornets another opportunity to take the victory. With runners on the corners, Tharp retired Combs on a slow-roller to first for the final out of the game as the Eagles salvaged the split.
Mohr worked 2.1 shutout innings and allowed just two hits to earn his first collegiate victory. Tharp blanked the Hornets on one hit over the final two innings to pick up his second save of the year.
The Eagles will look to keep their tournament hopes alive when they travel to Harrisonburg on Tuesday to meet Eastern Mennonite.