The Huntingdon Hawks jumped out the an early 3-0 lead and went to defeat the Bridgewater College Eagles, 6-2, Friday in NCAA Division III South Region tournament action at USA Stadium.
The loss eliminated the Eagles from postseason play as they finished the season with a 34-13 record.
Huntingdon wasted little time in putting some runs on the scoreboard. Caleb Astin stroked a one-out single to left in the top of the first and catcher Joseph Odom followed with a towering homer to left, giving the Hawks a quick 2-0 lead.
The Hawks scored again in the third after Bridgewater starter Robert Gallet retired the first two batters. Odom singled through the left side of the infield and Keegan Lambeth walked. Huntingdon loaded the bases when Eagles third baseman Andrew Hacker was unable to handle Tyler Blackwell's hard grounder to third. Odom then stole home to give the Hawks a 3-0 lead.
The Eagles threatened in the bottom of the third when Nick Fulk singled to right with one out and Derrik Walling followed with a bunt single. Huntingdon starter Gavin Free then induced Bridgewater's Bryan Sanderson to hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
The Eagles took advantage of Free's control problems to get on the board in the bottom of the fourth. Free hit Andrew Hacker with a pitch and walked Jonathan Mason. Free then plunked Zach Hynes with a pitch to load the bases with one out. Ryan Smith followed with a hard single to left, scoring Hacker to make the score 3-1. Free avoided further damage by retiring Darren Yoder on a pop-up to second and striking out Fulk to end the inning with the bases full.
The Hawks got the run back in the top of the fifth. Grant Brown led off with a double down the right-field line and moved to third on a single by Astin. Brown scored on a wild pitch to increase Huntingdon's lead to 4-1. The Eagles then issued an intentional walk to Odom before going to the bullpen for Tyler Slanovec.
A sacrifice bunt moved runners to second and third, but Slanovec worked out of the jam. He struck out Tyler Blackwell before retiring Austin White on a grounder to second baseman Sanderson to end the inning.
The Eagles loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth, but scored just one run. Walling led off with an infield single and, with one out, Hacker walked. Christian Armstrong then lined a single to center to load the sacks with one out. Mason plated Walling with a sacrifice fly to center to trim the deficit to 4-2.
The Hawks got the run back in the top of the sixth. With one out, Jordan Freeman doubled down the left-field line and Seth Currie followed with a single to put runners at the corners. Grant Brown then stroked a single through the box, scoring Freeman to make the score 5-2.
The Hawks scored again in the seventh against Eagles reliever Tyler Conley. Odom led off the inning with a walk and, following a strikeout, Tyler Blackwell also worked Conley for a base on balls. A single by White loaded the bases and Evan Agnew followed with a sacrifice fly to deep center, putting Huntingdon on top 6-2. The Eagles then went to the pen for senior Mark Smith and he retired Freeman on a fly ball to right to end the inning.
The Hawks bullpen blanked the Eagles over the final three innings to preserve the 6-2 victory.
Ryan Smith stroked three base hits and Walling added two to pace the Eagles' eight-hit attack. Gallet took the loss on the mound to fall to 6-5 on the season.
With the 34 victories, the Eagles set a new program record for wins in a season. Friday's game marked the last outing for Bridgewater seniors Mason, Mark Smith, Armstrong, Matt Maher, Hacker and Joseph Lucas. This year's senior class finished with 114 wins during their four seasons with the Eagles.