MARS HILL, N.C. – The Mars Hill (29-19) baseball team capped off its 2017 regular season with a 10-2 dragging of visiting Montreat College (16-29) on Tuesday afternoon at Don Henderson Field.
Daniel Vitello led the way offensively after going 4-for-5 at the dish with three doubles and three runs scored. Brett Brubaker and Gray McCurry chipped in two hits each, while McCurry matched Vitello with three runs scored. Devin Mangum contributed three RBIs in the winning effort.
Chase Day and Danny Fernandez each had two hits for the Cavaliers while Day also tallied the lone RBI for MC. Jared Mathewson (2-0) earned the win after throwing one inning of scoreless baseball, collecting a strikeout. Tanner Parham (1-4) was roughed up in the loss, throwing 3.0 innings and allowing six runs on nine hits.
The Lions struck early and often in the bottom of the first, plating three runs on four hits to take the early lead. Hunter Merrill led the frame off with a sharp single to center, while Vitello and Brubaker followed with back-to-back doubles to the wall. After a strikeout Travis Owens capped the scoring off with a line drive through the right side, collecting an RBI.
Montreat came back in the top of the second with a run of its own. A hit batter followed by a single put runners on first and second with no outs. The next batter flied out in foul territory, but the throw to the infield sailed out of play, allowing an unearned run to cross the plate. Brubaker got the run back in the bottom of the second with a double to right field that just missed clearing the fence, scoring Vitello, who collected a two-bagger of his own in the previous at-bat.
Mars Hill added to that lead in the home half of the third after Mangum tallied a triple to right field allowing Matt Honeycutt and McCurry to cross the plate, pushing the advantage out to 6-1.
The Cavaliers trimmed the deficit to 6-2 in the top of the fifth with a mini two-out rally. After a soft line drive to short and a swinging strikeout to start the frame, Nick Bray singled to left and came home on a looping single to left center by Chase Day.
A pair of runs by MHU in the bottom of the fifth padded the lead at 8-2. Honeycutt drew his second walk of the game and McCurry put runners on second and third with no outs with a roped double to center. Honeycutt scored on a passed ball by the Cavalier catcher and McCurry touched the plate on a soft groundout by Mangum.
Single runs in the seventh and eighth by the Lions pushed the lead to 10-2, which would eventually be the final score as well. Lance Edwards produced an RBI single while Barrett Hennings ripped an RBI double to account for the runs.
The Lions have completed the 2017 regular season and now will turn their attention to the South Atlantic Conference Baseball Championships on Friday, April 28 as they take on the No. 3 seed Newberry in first round action at Smokies Stadium in Sevierville, Tenn. First pitch is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.