HARRISONBURG, Va. - Bridgewater College scored 12 runs in the final two innings Tuesday afternoon to defeat Eastern Mennonite 18-9 in a key ODAC baseball matchup.
The victory keeps the Eagles' tournament hopes alive entering the final weekend of the season. Bridgewater hosts Emory & Henry on Saturday in a doubleheader to close out the regular season. Saturday's results around the conference will determine the tournament fates of several teams.
After Eastern Mennonite scored first with a run in the bottom of the first, the Eagles forged ahead with four runs in the second. Cameron Stanley and Kevin Navedo led off with singles and Brett Jones followed with a towering homer to left-center, giving Bridgewater a 3-1 lead. With one out, Matthew LaPrade singled and raced around to third on a single by Jarrett Biesecker. LaPrade scored on Jacob Grabeel's groundout, making the score 4-1.
The Royals added a run in the third, but Bridgewater tallied two runs in the top of the fifth to pad its lead. With one out, Luke Paczewski and Stanley produced back-to-back singles. Both scored on Jones' two-out triple for a 6-2 Eagles lead.
Eastern Mennonite (15-20-1, 9-11 in the ODAC) scored three times in the bottom of the fifth to make it a one-run game and the Royals moved ahead, 7-6, with two runs in the seventh.
Bridgewater (14-22, 8-12 in the ODAC) battled back and regained the lead with four runs in the top of the eighth inning. LaPrade led off with a single and moved to third on a single by Biesecker. Grabeel was safe on an infield chopper, scoring LaPrade to tie the score at 7-7. After a sacrifice bunt by Jacob Talley moved runners to second and third, Paczewski walked to load the bases with one out. Stanley then put the Eagles ahead, 8-7, with a sacrifice fly to right. Navedo followed with a two-run single up the middle, giving Bridgewater a 10-7 lead.
The Royals inched closer on a run-scoring single by Jaylon Lee in the bottom of the eighth to make it 10-8, but the Eagles broke the game open with an eight-run outburst in the top of the ninth. Bridgewater used six hits along with three EMU errors to score its eight runs. Stanley drove in two runs with a single, Navedo added a sac fly and LaPrade plated a run with a single during the ninth-inning onslaught.
Bridgewater finished the contest with 22 base hits. Biesecker led the way with a 5-for-6 day at the plate, his second five-hit game in the past week. Biesecker was one of eight players with multiple-hit games. Stanley and Navedo were each 3-for-5 and each drove in three runs. LaPrade was 3-for-6 with one run batted in. Jones was 2-for-5 on the day with five RBIs. Also finishing with two hits were Grabeel, Paczewski and Phillip Herber.
Seven of the eight spots for the ODAC tournament are locked up. Four teams go into the final weekend with a chance to claim the final spot for the tournament. Eastern Mennonite is 9-11 in conference play while Bridgewater, Guilford and Washington and Lee are each 8-12.
In addition to the Emory & Henry at Bridgewater twinbill, the final Saturday features Eastern Mennonite at Virginia Wesleyan, Guilford at Shenandoah and Washington and Lee at Randolph-Macon.