LYNCHBURG, Va. – The Washington and Lee baseball team saw its 2011 season come to an end as the third-seeded Generals fell to No. 1 seed Bridgewater College, 7-4, on Thursday afternoon at Lynchburg City Stadium.
After a sacrifice bunt by sophomore shortstop Jonathan Stutts (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Country Day) advanced both runners, Cardona scored on a groundout by sophomore catcher Will Salley (Augusta, Ga./Westside) for the 1-0 advantage.
W&L couldn't keep Bridgewater (26-16) at bay, as the Eagles tallied a run of their own to tie the score 1-1 after one inning. W&L senior Roger Strong (Spencerport, N.Y./McQuaid Jesuit) started the inning by getting BC first-year Bryan Sanderson to ground out to short. However, Strong walked junior Devon Snow, who then stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Senior Kevin Kirk followed with a groundout to second base to score Snow and knotted the game at 1-1.
After a scoreless top of the second inning, Strong struggled in the bottom half, walking the first three batters of the inning. He was quickly replaced by junior Joe Gannett (Seattle, Wash./Seattle Prep), who hit the first batter he faced to force in a run. Gannett quickly collected himself, striking out the next two batters before Snow hit a two-run single to give the Eagles a 4-1 lead.
The Generals pulled to within 4-3 in the fifth inning on a two-run double by sophomore Luke Deary (Carlisle, Mass./Groton). After Cardona and James grounded out to start the inning, Stutts started the rally with a single to right field. Salley followed with a single to center field, bringing Deary to the plate for his RBI double to left field.
Once again Bridgewater responded in the bottom half of the inning, adding one run to push its lead back to two runs (5-3). Gannett induced groundouts from the first two batters he faced, but BC junior Jay Thompson singled to short, and senior Brett Howell reached on an error by Stutts to put runners on first and second. Senior Jake Wade then singled to center to drive in Thompson, giving BC a 5-3 lead.
W&L rallied in the top half of the eighth inning, adding a run to leave pull to within 5-4 on a balk by junior Kevin Chandler that scored Salley.
Bridgewater added two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth as they held on for the final 7-4 decision, eliminating the Generals from ODAC Tournament play.
Deary led the Generals at the plate, going 2-for3 with two RBIs and one walk, while Salley was 2-for-4 with two runs and one RBI.
Strong took the loss for W&L, giving up four runs and walking four in 1.0 innings. Gannett pitched 4.0 innings of relief, allowing six hits while registering three strikeouts and allowing only one run (unearned).
Chandler earned the win for BC, pitching seven innings, allowing four runs on nine hits, two walks and six strikeouts. First-year Tyler Slanovec pitched the final two innings for Bridgewater, registering one hit and one strikeout en route to his third save of the season.
At the plate, the Eagles were led by Snow, who finished 2-for-4 with two runs driven in a run scored and a stolen base. Thompson was 2-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored while Wade had one hit in three at-bats and drove in a pair.
With the win, BC will play the winner No. 4 Randolph-Macon vs. No. 2 Lynchburg on Friday at 11:00 am, while the Generals have seen their season come to an end.