DUE WEST, S.C. – The Mars Hill baseball team lost their 2018 season opener, 6-5, against Erskine Friday afternoon.
Tied at five entering the bottom of the ninth, Erskine loaded the bases with one out. A past ball allowed Tyler Bond to scoot in for the game-winning run.
Mars Hill trailed 5-3 entering the top of the eighth inning. Cody Cline drew a walk and then stole second to be in scoring position. A single into centerfield by Lance Edwards scored Cline to pull within one run. Fleet pitcher Corey Sox attempted to pick off Edwards, but the throw was errant, allowing Edwards to get to third base with no outs in the inning.
Following a Devin Mangum strikeout and Daniel Vitello walk, Christian Stampler was hit by a pitch to load the bases. All of the runners advanced on a passed ball, allowing the Lions to claw their way back into the contest heading into the final inning.
Mars Hill opened the contest with two runs in the first inning, both off of bases loaded walks. Cline and Travis Owens were walked in consecutive at-bats, scoring Stampler and Brett Brubaker, respectively.
The Fleet would not get on the board until a lead-off homerun in the top of the fourth inning from Billy Ryan ended the shutout bid for Jared Mathewson. Erskine would add three more runs, including a two-run double down the leftfield line from Drew Iniesta followed by a RBI double from Jake Bennett to go up 4-2 entering the fifth inning.
Erskine would add a run in the bottom of the fifth only to be answered by Mars Hill in the top of the sixth, carrying a 5-3 lead into the scoreless seventh inning.
Edwards was the top hitter for the Lions with two hits in five at-bats with one RBI. Vitello, Cline and Owens each had one RBI as well.
Michael Carpin was credited with the win, allowing two runs on four hits in five innings pitched. He accounted for 10 of the 19 Mars Hill strikeouts on the afternoon. Kaleb McCurry was saddled with the loss, having three walks and one unearned run in 1.2 innings pitched.
The Lions look to rebound on Saturday, February 3 when they take on Erskine at 12 p.m. for the first of two games on the afternoon. The second contest is slated for a 3 p.m. first pitch.