BRIDGEWATER - Bridgewater College and rival Eastern Mennonite split a pair of one-run games in ODAC softball action Wednesday at Fulk Field. The Eagles took the opener 5-4 in nine innings and EMU bounced back to hold off the Eagles 3-2 in the second game.
Bridgewater took the lead in the opener in the bottom of the first inning when Brianna Whorley scored all the way from first base on Mariah Wharton's double to left-center field gap, giving the Eagles a quick 1-0 advantage.
The margin held until the top of the fourth when the visiting Royals pushed across three runs to take the lead. The Eagles answered with two runs in the bottom of the fourth to pull even. Sydney Layman doubled to open the frame and Lindsey Talley followed with an infield single. Layman moved to third on a fly ball to right by Stephanie Carroll and scored on Whorley's single to left, making it a one-run game. After Wharton grounded out for the second out of the inning, Mikalia Guard walked to load the bases. Carlita Tibbs followed with a bases-load walk, scoring Talley to tie the score at 3-3.
The score remained deadlocked until extra innings and both teams scored a run in the eighth. EMU took the lead when Tiffani Shaheen scored from third on Sydney Reath's squeeze bunt. The Eagles answered when Carroll singled with two outs, scoring pinch-runner Allison Patrick to tie the score at 4-4.
In the top of the ninth, the Eagles' defense came through with the big play to put a zero on the scoreboard. Pinch-runner Taylor Hensley was placed on second to start the inning and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. EMU went to the suicide squeeze play once again, but this time the batter failed to get the bunt down. Bridgewater catcher Wharton put the tag on Hensley for the second out and the Eagles got out of the inning without allowing a run.
Whorley was placed on second to start the bottom of the ninth and moved to third on Wharton's sacrifice bunt. Guard followed with a grounder to second and Whorley beat the throw home, sliding under the tag of EMU catcher Sam Breeden to score the winning run.
Carroll was 2-for-5 in the opener, the only Bridgewater player with more than one hit.
Bridgewater jumped out to an early lead in the second game with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third inning. With two outs and nobody on, Carroll reached on an infield error and raced around to third on Whorley's hit, just beating the throw to third base. Whorley took second on the throw to third and Wharton followed with a single through the right side of the infield, scoring both runners for a 2-0 Eagles' lead.
The Royals responded to tie the game in the top of the fourth inning. With one out, Kelsi Martin got the ball rolling with a single. Breeden followed with a hard single to left and, when the ball skipped past Tibbs, Martin scored all the way from first to put the Royals on the board. Breeden ended up at third on the play and pinch-runner Michaela Nichols scored on Alia Miller's two-out single, tying the game at 2-2.
EMU pushed across what proved to be the winning run in the sixth. Martin led off with a triple to right-center and Breeden followed with a single up the middle, giving the Royals a 3-2 lead.
Martin then blanked the Eagles over the final two innings to preserve the one-run victory.
Whorley was 2-for-4 for the Eagles in Game 2 and Wharton finished with two RBIs. Brooke Louden pitched well in the loss, allowing just two earned runs on 10 hits.
The Eagles return to action Thursday when they make the long trip to play Emory & Henry. The ODAC doubleheader will be played at Abingdon H.S., beginning at 5:30 p.m.