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Lenz, Benfield Pitch Eagles Past Messiah

Lenz, Benfield Pitch Eagles Past Messiah

BRIDGEWATER – Bridgewater pitchers Chad Lenz and Jacob Benfield limited Messiah to one unearned run Tuesday as the Eagles improved to 4-1 on the season with a 3-1 non-conference victory.

The Eagles took the lead early with a run in the bottom of the first inning. Austin Batten walked to lead off the game and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Parker Mead. Batten scored when Chris King doubled over the centerfielder's head, putting the Eagles on top 1-0.

Lenz blanked the Falcons through the first four innings, but gave up the tying run in the top of the fifth. Austin Mellinger led off with a single through the left side of the infield. Mellinger then raced around to third on a wild pickoff throw by Lenz. After Lenz struck out Hunter Brindle for the first out of the inning, the Falcons executed the squeeze play perfectly as Mellinger raced home to tie the score when Jimmy Kustra put the bunt in play.

The score didn't remain tied for long as Batten led off the bottom half of the fifth with a homer to right, putting the Eagles back on top, 2-1. Mead followed Batten's long ball by drawing a walk and moving to second on a wild pitch. King then ripped his second double of the game, this one down the left-field line, scoring Mead to give the Eagles a 3-1 lead.

The Falcons threatened in the ninth when Colin Fry reached on an infield single and Nick Godwin was safe on an error. Benfield then retired Dan Wiederrecht on a fly ball to right-center with Fry tagging up and taking third on the play.

With one out and runners on the corners, pinch-runner JJ Robinson stole second, putting the potential tying runs in scoring position. Benfield struck out Trey Pritchard for the second out and then retired Ben Wilson on a fly ball to shallow right to preserve the 3-1 victory for the Eagles.

Lenz was sharp in his second outing of the season as he allowed one unearned run on four hits in five innings of work. He struck out five and did not walk a batter. Benfield added four strong innings in his first appearance of the season. The sophomore right-hander allowed just two hits. He struck out three and hit one batter.

The Eagles return to action on Wednesday when they travel to Danville, Va., to play Averett University in non-conference action. Bridgewater returns home on Saturday to host a doubleheader with Oneonta State.