BRIDGEWATER - Bridgewater College improved its tournament chances with a key 12-4 conference victory Wednesday afternoon over Washington and Lee.
Bridgewater is now 18-16-1 overall and 6-11 in the ODAC. The top eight teams qualify for the ODAC tournament and the Eagles currently check in at No. 8. Lynchburg is just ahead of the Eagles at 7-11 while Emory & Henry lurks just behind Bridgewater at 4-11.
The Eagles scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning Wednesday against W&L and never looked back. Austin Batten led off the inning with a single and raced around to third on a single by Jacob Talley. Brett Lysohir singled to left, scoring Batten for a 1-0 Bridgewater lead. Brett Jones then cleared the bases with a three-run homer to right, his sixth round-tripper of the season, putting the Eagles on top 4-0.
The teams traded solo homers in the fourth. Auston Crane put the Generals on the scoreboard with his solo shot, but the Eagles answered when Jake Bailey led of the bottom half of the inning with a solo dinger to right, giving the Eagles a 5-1 lead.
Chadwick Feeley's RBI-triple in the top of the fifth inning pulled W&L to within 5-2, but Bridgewater scored three times in its half of the fifth to open up some breathing room. Talley led off the Eagles' fifth with a single and moved to third on a single by Chris King. Talley,however, was erased at the plate for the first out of the inning when he tried to score on Jones' infield grounder. Cameron Stanley then doubled to center, scoring King to put the Eagles on top 6-2. Jones scored on a single by Bailey and a two-out single by Jacob Grabeel chased Stanley home to put the Eagles on top 8-2.
The Eagles padded the margin with two more runs in the sixth. Batten led off with a single and Talley was hit by a pitch. After both runners advanced on a wild pitch, Jones delivered a two-run single to center, making the score 10-2.
After W&L scored twice in the top of the eighth, the Eagles scored their final two runs in the bottom of the eighth on Stanley's two-run homer for the final 12-4 score.
Jones led Bridgewater's 16-hit outburst with a 3-for-4 day at the plate and five RBIs. Bailey was 3-for-5 with two runs batted in while Stanley was 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Batten and Talley finished with two hits each.
Eagles' starter Chad Lenz worked six solid innings to earn the victory. The lefty allowed two runs on seven hits. Lenz struck out seven and walked just one. Kyle Hasforth gave up two runs in his two innings and Ryan Skadra allowed no hits and struck out two batters as he finished up with a scoreless ninth.
The Eagles play their final home games of the regular season Saturday afternoon when they host Guilford in another key conference doubleheader. Saturday is Family and Senior Day along with Alumni Day. The ODAC Championship teams from 1985, 1986 and 1988 will be recognized.