Royals Split In Showdown At Bridgewater

Sam Breeden had plenty to celebrate with the eventual game-winning RBI in game two. (photo by Scott Eyre)
Sam Breeden had plenty to celebrate with the eventual game-winning RBI in game two. (photo by Scott Eyre)

EMU's softball women split another conference doubleheader on Wednesday. The Royals fell to host Bridgewater College after nine innings of play in game one before earning a walk-off decision in the nightcap. The Royals stand at 19-15 overall and 7-11 in ODAC play. 

Eastern Mennonite will play in its final regular season doubleheader on Friday, as they travel to non-conference opponent Averett University for a 2:00pm start time.

The women stand at sixth in the ODAC standings and are finished with their conference games. Although they have not clinched a spot in next week's ODAC Tournament, there would need to be a number of upsets for Randolph, Guilford and Bridgewater to each jump EMU and bump them to ninth in the standings. The final games around the ODAC are scheduled to wrap up next Tuesday, with the eight-team tourney starting next Friday in Salem, Va.

Bridgewater 5, EMU 4
The Royals dug themselves out of a hole in the bottom of the second frame as the Eagles loaded the bases with only one out. Despite a couple of errors the Royals stranded three runners on base, and then a couple more in the bottom of the third. 

The bats were on for the Royals in the top of the fourth. Tiffani Shaheen (Fluvanna, Va./Fluvanna County) and Sydney Reath (Williamsburg, Va./Mercersburg Academy) smacked a couple of doubles to get things started. Reath's double not only brought Shaheen past the plate to make it 1-1, but the hit also tied EMU's record for doubles in a single season (16) as well as career doubles (40). Kelsi Martin's (Buena Vista, Va./Parry McCluer) single to centerfield brought Reath home and then Sam Breeden (Aroda, Va./Madison County) singled to put the Royals in scoring position. 

Alia Miller (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) added the fifth hit of the inning for EMU after singling up the middle, bringing in Martin for a 3-1 lead. 

Bridgewater didn't take long to answer, getting two runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth on three hits while leaving three runners on base. 

Three scoreless frames took the game into extra innings, with the international tie breaker placing Shaheen on second base to start the eighth. Danielle Brenneman's (Waynesboro, Va./Stuarts Draft) sacrifice bunt advanced Shaheen to third base, and Reath followed with a bunt to bring in Shaheen. 

After the runner was placed on second the Eagles used a sacrifice bunt of their own to get the runner to third. A single up the center tied the game 4-4 and extended the game another inning. The Royals were unable to capitalize in the top of the ninth as BC walked off with the win.

Shaheen went 2-4 with two runs. Reath (5-7) pitched the complete game allowing five runs on eight hits. The Eagles left twelve on base in game one.

EMU 3, Bridgewater 2
Game two started in a similar fashion with both teams at a standstill for the first two innings. In the bottom of the third, a couple fielding errors gave the Eagles the advantage, 2-0. 

It was the top of the fourth again for the Royals that proved to be a big inning. Martin and Breeden had back-to-back singles that ended up being enough for a run after a BC fielding error. Michaela Nichols (Luray, Va./Luray) pinch ran for Breeden and was eventually sent home after Miller hit an RBI single. 

After a scoreless fifth frame, it was Martin and Breeden's combined work to get the Royals a run they needed. Martin started the sixth inning with a triple to right field. Breeden followed up with what would be the game-winning RBI, driving a single up the middle. After the run and three hits the Royals would end the inning with one runner on base. The defense held BC and ended up earning the split in game two.

Shaheen, Martin, Breeden, and Miller each went 2-3. Martin (9-5) earned the win in the circle for EMU allowing just two runs in 7.0 innings, while striking out five.