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Eagles Earn Key Split With Quakers

Parker Mead dives to catch a throw on a pick-off attempt at second base.

BRIDGEWATER - Bridgewater College rode a strong pitching performance by Andrew Berry to win Saturday's first game with Guilford 6-4, but the Quakers bounced back to win the second game with an unearned run in the ninth, 4-3.

The Eagles took the lead in the first game with two runs in the bottom of the third inning. With two outs and no runners on Jacob Talley singled and Chris King walked. Brett Jones singled to put the Eagles on the board and a run-scoring single by Jake Bailey made the score 2-0.

Guilford (19-16-1, 7-10 in the ODAC) tied the score with two runs in the top of the fifth, but the Eagles regained the lead with a run in the bottom half of the fifth when Chris King hit a solo homer to the short porch in right field that just cleared the fence. 

Bridgewater (19-17-1, 7-12 in he ODAC) increased its lead with single runs in the sixth and seventh innings. Jacob Grabeel led off the sixth with a single and moved to second on Parker Mead's sacrifice bunt. Grabeel scored on Austin Batten's double for a 4-2 Eagles' lead. Jones led off the seventh with a double and took third on a wild pitch. Jones scored on a throwing error by shortstop Josh Shepherd  to put the Eagles up 5-2.

Guilford fought back and made it a one-run game with two runs in the top of the eighth. The Quakers opened the inning with three straight hits to load the bases against Eagles' reliever Kyle Hasforth. Bridgewater went to the pen a second time and freshman Ryan Skadra minimized the damage. One run scored on an infield grounder and Brett Shapcott drove in a run with a single through the left side of the infield to pull the Quakers to within one run. Skadra retired the next two batters, preserving a one-run, 5-4, lead for the Eagles.

Bridgewater added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth to lead 6-4. Mead walked to lead off the inning and he moved to third on Batten's single. The Eagles put the squeeze play on and Jacob Talley's bunt single scored Mead to give the Eagles a two-run lead. 

Skadra gave up a lead-off single to Trevor Denton to start the ninth, but a double-play grounder moved the Eagles closer to the win. Skadra walked Sam Gerald before retiring Rocco Wilcox on a fly ball to record his fourth save on the season.

Berry worked seven innings and allowed just two runs, one earned, on seven hits. Berry struck out six and walked five to pick up his third win of the season.

Batten led the Eagles' 12-hit attack with three base hits while Talley, King and Jones added two hits each.

Guilford used runs in the first and third innings in Game 2 to jump out to a 2-0 lead before the Eagles got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third on a solo homer by Batten, trimming the Quakers' lead to 2-1. 

A run-scoring single by Gerald in the sixth inning padded the Quakers' lead to 3-1, but the Eagles pulled even in the bottom of the seventh on King's two-run homer to left.

The Quakers pushed across the winning run in the top of the ninth inning. With one out, Gerald walked and pinch-runner Austin Wilson moved to second on a wild pitch. Wilson then moved over to third on Will LaCount's grounder to Talley at short for the second out of the inning. Dylan Tuttle then hit a grounder to first that Jake Bailey misplayed, allowing Wilson to score for a 4-3 Guilford lead.  

Guilford starter Mitchell Stumpo retired the Eagles in order in the bottom of the ninth to finish off his complete-game effort in the 4-3 Quakers' win.

Bridgewater senior Jordan Showalter provided a solid start on the mound as he allowed three runs on nine hits in seven innings of work. Showalter struck out three and did not walk a batter. Fellow senior Ian Mayes also pitched well in relief. Mayes struck out the side in the eighth before allowing the unearned run in the ninth.

Bridgewater finished the game with nine hits. Talley, King and Cameron Stanley had two hits each.

The Eagles play their final regular season contest on Tuesday when they travel to Eastern Mennonite. A win over the Royals will lock up a playoff spot for the Eagles.