MARS HILL, N.C. – The Mars Hill baseball team opened a three game set against Newberry College with a 4-2 win on Friday afternoon at Don Henderson Field. The Lions improved to 16-15 overall and 5-5 in the conference while the Wolves dropped to 17-14 overall and 5-5 in the league.
Hunter Merrill went 2-for-4 from the plate with a RBI and run scored, while Christian Stampler tallied one hit in three at-bats, that lone hit being a two-run homerun. Daniel Vitello added a RBI in the winning effort for the Lions. Daymon Totherow led the Wolves going 2-of-3 from the dish with two runs scored.
Newberry took an early lead in the top of the second with a single run on two hits. Daymon Totherow led the frame off with a bunt single before advancing to second on a single to center field by Tyler White. Following a strikeout, Totherow stole third and then advanced home on a balk by the Lions' catcher to give the Wolves the early advantage.
After two innings of going dry, the Lions finally broke through in the bottom of the third inning. The frame started with two consecutive strikeouts, but Brett Brubaker showed patience and earned a two-out walk. Stampler then lifted a ball down the left field line that just cleared the fence, giving the Blue and Gold a 2-1 lead.
Hunter Merrill added to that lead in the bottom of the fourth with a two-out RBI triple to left field, scoring Devin Mangum, who reached on a hit up the middle prior to Merrill's at-bat. The scoring did not stop there as Vitello beat out an infield single to plate Merrill, expanding the lead to 4-1 after four.
Newberry made things interesting in the top of the ninth, scoring one run and threatening for a huge half inning after loading the bases with two outs. However, Fausto Turro slammed the door for his first save of the season and Devin Mangum made a remarkable catch down the right field line in foul territory to secure the win for the Lions.
Zac Brown improved to 2-3 on the season after pitching 8.0 innings of one run ball, scattering five hits and striking out five, while not allowing a walk. Zack Kelly (4-3) was tagged with the loss, tossing six innings and allowing four runs on eight hits while striking out 13.
The Lions and Wolves will meet again tomorrow in doubleheader action to finish up their three-game series. First pitch is scheduled for noon.