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Eagles Pick Up Split To Open Softball Season

Stephanie Carroll bunts for a hit.

BRIDGEWATER - Bridgewater rallied from a 3-0 deficit in the second game to win 5-3 and salvage a split in the season-opening doubleheader Friday at Fulk Field over Penn State-Altoona. The Lions edged the Eagles in the first game 3-2. 

The Lions took advantage of  two Bridgewater errors in the top of the first inning to take a 2-0 lead in the opener. The score stayed that way until the bottom of the fourth when the Eagle spulled even.

Mikalia Guard walked to lead off the fourth for the Eagles and moved to second on an infield single by Katie Merhout. Stephanie Carroll then put down a bunt and beat the throw to first for a base hit. Guard tried to score from second on the play and was thrown out at the plate for the first out of the inning. Carlita Tibbs then stepped into the box and drilled  a double over the centerfielder's head, scoring both Merhout and Carroll to the game at 2-2.

Bridgewater had the go-ahead run at third base with one out in the bottom of the sixth, but was unable to push the run across. The Lions scored what proved the winning run in the top of the seventh when Kelsey Bristol led off the inning with a double and scored on Bridgewater's third error of the game to take the 3-2 lead.

Bridgewater starter Brooke Louden went the distance and took the loss despite allowing no earned runs. Loudon allowed seven hits while striking out five batters and walking two.

In the second game, the Lions scored three runs in the third to take a 3-0 lead, but were unable to hold off the Eagles' comeback.

The Eagles got one run back in the bottom of the third when first-year outfielder Morgan Landes tripled to the left-center gap in her first collegiate at-bat. Landes scored on a single up the middle by Lindsey Talley to cut the Lions' lead to 3-1.

Bridgewater chipped away at the margin with another run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Carroll lined a triple to opposite-field gap and scored on a single by Brianna Whorley as the Eagles pulled to within a run.

With darkness looming, the Eagles took the win with three runs in the bottom of the fifth.  Landes led off the inning with a bunt single and then stole second. She moved to third on a groundout and scored on Sydney Layman's bunt single, tying the score at 3-3. Merhout doubled off the left field fence, barely missing a home run, to put runners at second and third. After the Lions intentionally walked Tibbs, Carroll hit a hard groundball up the middle and the ball bounced off the glove of the Lions' shortstop as she made a diving attempt to field the ball. The ball rolled into shallow center field with Merhout and Layman both scoring to put the Eagles on top, 5-3.

Whorley singled to load the bases before the game was halted due to darkness.

First-year players Whorley and Landes each had two hits along with veterans Talley and Carroll to lead the offense.

Keirsten Kennedy picked up the win in the circle in her first collegiate appearance. Kennedy pitched two scoreless innings and allowed just one hit.

The Eagles are back in action on March 2 when they host Mary Baldwin University.