BRIDGEWATER - Bridgewater College provided a stern test Saturday for the nation's No. 1 ranked softball team before losing both ends of a doubleheader at Fulk Field to Virginia Wesleyan University 5-3 and 3-1.
The Eagles faced the daunting task of going against pitcher Hanna Hull, the reigning National Player of the Year, in Saturday's first game. Bridgewater scored three earned runs off the Marlins' ace but the visitors prevailed in a close game, 5-3. The Eagles are only the second team this season to score more than two runs off Hull.
Single runs in the first and second innings put the Marlins on top 2-0 before the Eagles manufactured a run in the bottom of the third. With two outs and no runners on, the Eagles put together three straight hits against Hull. Lindsey Talley and Stephanie Carroll reached on base hits and Talley scored on a single by Brianna Whorley, pulling Bridgewater to within 2-1.
Cassetty Howerin's two-run single in the top of the fifth increased the Marlins' advantage to 4-1, but the Eagles answered with two runs in their half of the fifth to make it a one-run game.
Just like the third inning, the Eagles put together a two-out rally with no one on base and once again the same three players were in the middle of the action. Talley reached on a single to right and then stole second. Carroll walked and Whorley followed with a two-run triple down the right-field line, trimming the Marlins' lead to 4-3.
Virginia Wesleyan (37-1, 15-1 in the ODAC) added an insurance run in the top of the sixth to lead 5-3 and Hull held the Eagles without a hit over the final two frames to preserve the victory.
Hull allowed five hits while striking out 13 batters to improve to 26-1 on the season. Carolyn Campbell pitched well for the Eagles in the loss, allowing four earned runs on eight hits in her complete-game effort.
Bridgewater jumped out to a quick lead in the second game. Talley led off the bottom of the first inning by drawing a walk and Carroll followed with a run-scoring double to right-center, givng the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
The Marlins added two huge insurance runs in the top of the seventh, before the Eagles threatened in the their final at-bat. Talley doubled with two outs, bringing the potential tying run to the plate, but Marlins' pitcher Carla Hall retired Carroll on a gounder to first to finish off the sweep.
Bridgewater (15-21, 3-13 in the ODAC) closes out its regular season Sunday afternoon when the Eagles travel to Lynchburg College for a conference doubleheader.