Mars Hill draws with Lake Erie in extra innings

Mars Hill draws with Lake Erie in extra innings

MARS HILL, N.C. - The Mars Hill baseball team played to a 14-14 draw in Tuesday's contest with the Lake Erie Storm at Henderson Field. The game was called due to darkness.

Trailing 13-7 in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Lions roared back to tie the game with six runs. Cody Cline was walked with the bases loaded to plate Josh Hall to start the comeback bid. Barrett Hennings scored off of a wild pitch to bring the Lions within four. With two runners on and no outs, Daniel Vitello blasted a three-run homerun to left-center field cutting the Storm lead down to one.

Tristan Mayer was replaced by Peter Theodos. Theodos allowed a single to Travis Owens and struck out Brett Brubaker. Following two wild pitches that advanced pinch runner Lance Edwards to third and a walk to Matt Honeycutt, Theodos was pulled for Ryan Lally. Tying the game with one out, Christian Stampler grounded out to second base to score Edwards, completing the comeback and extending the contest into extra innings.

In the top of the 10th inning, Trace Peterson homered to left-center field for his second of the game to regain the lead for Lake Erie. Once again trailing with the game on the line, Cline came up clutch with a two-out homerun to center field to tie the game at 14 all. At the conclusion of the inning, the game was called due to darkness.

The Lions conceded back-to-back homeruns to open the contest when Lake Erie's Wes Birchmeier and Peterson put the Storm up 2-0 heading into the bottom of the first. Brubaker's RBI double, plating Owens, cut the lead in half.

Each team scored a run in the second inning. Birchmeier picked up his second RBI with a single through the left-side to score Nathan Erzen. Mars Hill responded as Vitello reached on a fielder's choice, allowing Gray McCurry to score.

Mars Hill took their first lead of the game in the bottom of the third inning, scoring three runs. Stampler got the scoring started with a homerun to left field with one out in the frame. Later in the inning, Cline hit a two RBI double into centerfield to score Devin Mangum and Hall.

Tying the game in the top of the fourth inning, Lake Erie's Nigel Williams drove home Birchmeier with a RBI single into the left field. Williams later scored on a wild pitch to tie the game a five. The Lions retook the lead with a RBI single in the bottom of the inning off the bat of Hall.

Following a scoreless fifth inning, the Storm rallied in the top of the sixth to take a 9-6 lead after scoring four runs in the frame. Opening the inning, Peterson was walked and advanced to second off of a Mars Hill error while Williams got on base. With two runners on, Corbin Paxton singled up the middle to plate Peterson, tying the game at six. Troy Hall was able to strike out Ryan Carver for the first out of the inning, but gave up a RBI single to Caleb Waller that scored Williams. Coming in to pinch hit, Brady Minetti singled and was able to drive home Paxton to take a two-run lead. Rounding out the scoring for the Storm, with Birchmeier at the plate, a wild pitch allowed Waller to cross home and give Lake Erie a three-run edge.

Mars Hill cut into the lead with Hall's double to center field for his second RBI of the game. Both teams' offenses were quite in the seventh and eighth innings, going scoreless.

The teams combined for 33 hits, including 17 by Lake Erie. Peterson and Paxton led the way with three apiece. Hall led the Lions with four hits in six at-bats, driving in two runs. He also stole two of the Lions' five stolen bases on the afternoon. Cline and Vitello each had a game-high four RBIs.

Mars Hill goes to 4-10-1 while Lake Erie moves to 1-5-1 on the year.

The Lions return to action on Friday, March 2 when they host South Atlantic Conference foe Newberry. First pitch of the three-game weekend series is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Henderson Field.

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