Lions falter late, drop SAC opener versus Tusculum

Lions falter late, drop SAC opener versus Tusculum

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. - The Mars Hill baseball team dropped their 2018 South Atlantic Conference opener versus Tusculum Friday evening by a score of 8-5.

The Lions led 5-4 entering the bottom of the eighth inning. Two errors by Mars Hill allowed the Pioneers to get runners on second and third with no outs. The Lions were able to get Seth DeHaven to groundout for the first out of the inning, but the following batter, Zack Finchum singled up the middle to drive in the two runners to take a 6-5 lead. It was the first time in the game that Tusculum had led. Finchum was thrown out at second on a fielder's choice off the bat of Daulton Martin. Three straight Pioneers' singles scored their third and fourth runs of the inning, plating Martin and Nate Montgomery.

Aside from a two-out walk by Daniel Vitello, the Mars Hill offense was not able to strike and fell 8-5 in the top of the ninth inning.

The Lions opened the scoring in the top of the second inning as Brett Brubaker led the frame off with a solo homerun to right-center field. With one out in the inning, Gray McCurry singled followed by a Lance Edwards walk to put two Lions on the bases. Each player advanced a base off of a wild pitch. A walk to Vitello loaded the bases and with Travis Owens at-bat, another wild pitch advanced the Lions' runners. McCurry and Edwards crossed home to give the Lions the early 2-0 lead. Owens later drove a pitch into right-center field for a single that scored Vitello.

Mars Hill came out of the second inning up 4-0. Tusculum dug into the lead by scoring the next three runs, beginning in the bottom of the third. A Mars Hill error, their first of four on the evening, allowed Bryson Ford, who led off the bottom half of the inning with a walk, to score to get the Pioneers on the board. Tusculum added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth with a two-run double off the bat of Garrett Dupuis.

Christian Stampler collected a RBI with a double to left-centerfield in the top of the fifth, plating Owens to regain a two-run lead heading into the sixth inning up 5-3.

Finchum picked up his first of three RBIs on the evening in the bottom of the sixth with a single to right field that scored Dupuis.

Jared Mathewson started for the Lions and pitched four innings, striking out six and allowing two earned runs. Fausto Turro was credited with the loss, allowing four hits and four unearned runs in 1.1 innings pitched. Chase McAllister, in 2.1 innings pitched, earns the victory, striking out four batters and not allowing a hit.

The Lions fall to 3-9 (0-1 SAC) while Tusculum improves to 7-6 (1-0 SAC). 

The two teams meet again on Saturday, February 23 for double-header action. First pitch for game one is scheduled for 1 p.m., with the second game slated to start at 4 p.m.