MARS HILL, N.C. – The Lions took two games from Carson-Newman in South Atlantic Conference baseball action Saturday afternoon at Henderson Field. It was Senior Day for the Lions; Caleb Edwards, Blaine Farrell, Lane Grant, Tom Mastrodonato, Tyler Mericka and Hunter Merrill were recognized prior to the first pitch. Mars Hill improved to 28-19 overall and 14-9 in the league while the Eagles fell to 24-22 on the season, 10-13 in the SAC.
Game 1: MHU 8, C-N 4
Mars Hill prevailed 8-4 over the Eagles in game one after the contest was suspended in the sixth inning on Friday afternoon due to rain. Christian Stampler went 3-4 with a homerun, a double and three RBI to lead the Lions offensively. Lance Edwards added three RBI and a homerun while Brett Brubaker was 1-3 with a homerun and two RBI. Zac Brown threw five innings allowing just one hit and no earned runs to obtain his sixth win (6-3) on the mound. He struck out nine batters.
Paul Kirby and Brett Langhorne tallied two hits apiece to pace the Eagles at the plate. Grant Rabbitts took the loss (0-2) for C-N on the mound.
The Eagles took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning after Kirby doubled to left-center field to score Ryan Addington. A two-run homerun by Brubaker to left field gave the Lions a 2-1 advantage they would not relinquish.
Gray McCurry led off the Lions' second at-bat with a triple and then Edwards scored him on a fielder's choice to give MHU a 3-1 lead. The Lions put the game away in the third inning scoring five runs on four hits highlighted by a three-run homerun from Stampler and a two-run homerun by Edwards. Rain halted the game in the top of the sixth inning and the teams resumed play Saturday at noon.
After two scoreless innings, the Eagles scored three runs on the same number of hits in the eighth frame to trim the deficit to four runs (8-4) but that was as close as they would get. Langhorne hit a two-RBI single in the at-bat. Mastrodonato entered the contest in the ninth and set the Eagles down in order to seal the victory.
Game 2: MHU 8, C-N 2
Hunter Merrill went 3-5 with a double, a stolen base and a pair of runs scored to lead Mars Hill at the plate. Shomarii Thomas went 2-4 with a double and two-RBI. Travis Owens added three RBI in the win. Caleb Edwards threw six innings scattering just three hits while striking out seven batters to pick up his third win (3-0) on the year.
Trever Lee led the Eagles at the plate going 2-3. Ryan Victory suffered the loss (3-2) for Carson-Newman on the mound.
Mars Hill jumped out to a 3-0 lead in their first at-bat and never looked back. Merrill and Daniel Vitello traded places on back-to-back doubles to score the Lions' first run and then Owens scored Vitello on a sacrifice fly to right field. Thomas then singled center field to plate Brubaker.
After C-N scored a single run in the second inning, the Lions added four runs on three hits in the third inning to take a 7-1 lead. Owens doubled down the right field line to send Matt Honeycutt and Brubaker home before Thomas doubled down the left field line to plate Owens. Cody Cline then hit a sacrifice fly to score Thomas and account for the fourth run of the at-bat.
After the Eagles added their final run in the top of the seventh inning, Brubaker singled to center field to drive in Merrill and make the final tally 8-2 in favor of the hosts.
After today's game, the Lions' lead the SAC in team earned run average (4.26). Hunter Merrill is second in the SAC in batting average (.410) and leads the league in stolen bases (26) while Brubaker is third in homeruns (13).
The teams will conclude the three-game series tomorrow at Henderson Field. They will play a single, seven-inning game beginning at 1 p.m.