KISSIMMEE, Fla. – DeSales University jumped out to an early 4-0 lead Wednesday morning and held off a late-inning Bridgewater rally to take a 6-5 victory.
The Bulldogs tallied three times in the bottom of the second inning to take the lead. A two-out single by Kristen Suran plated the first run and Emma Izzo plated two more with a single to left, making the score 3-0. All three runs were unearned.
DeSales pushed across another run in the fourth. Artesari led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Andrea Artesani scored on a single up the middle by Erin Redden, making the score 4-0.
The Eagles' offense came to life in the top of the fifth inning. With one out, Lindsey Talley and Sydney Layman stroked back-to-back singles to put two runners on base. After pinch-hitter Taylor Novak went down on strikes, Mikalia Guard belted a three-run homer to cut the DeSales' lead to one, 4-3.
The Bulldogs answered with two runs in the bottom half of the fifth. With two outs and a runner at second, Hallie Muffley delivered a run-scoring single to center to put DeSales on top, 5-3. Artesani singled to move Muffley to second and a single to center by Suran chased Muffley home, increasing the Bulldogs' lead to 6-3.
Bridgewater continued to fight back and the Eagles once again made it a one-run game with two runs in the top of the sixth. Stephanie Carroll led off the inning with a double and Katie Merhout was hit by a pitch. After pinch-hitter Haley Haun was caught looking at a third strike, Keirston Kennedy reached on an error to load the bases. Talley then reached on a fielder's choice with Carroll scoring on the play to make it 6-4. With the bases still full, Merhout scored on a groundout by Layman, pulling the Eagles to within a run, 6-5. With runners at first and second, DeSales pitcher Hailey Warner struck out Tibbs to end the inning.
The Eagles threatened in the seventh, but were unable to push across the tying run. With one out, Mariah Wharton doubled and was replaced on the bases by pinch-runner Morgan Landes. Carroll singled to short with Landes beating the throw to third. Carroll continued to second on the play, giving the Eagles runners at second and third with one out. Warner worked out of the jam, retiring Merhout on strikes and Brianna Whorley on a pop fly to third to end the potential game-winning rally and preserve the 6-5 win for the Bulldogs.
Carroll continued her early-season hot streak at the plate with a 3-for-4 day against DeSales. Carroll, who has hit safely in each of the six games she has played, raised her team-leading batting average to .579.