JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Mars Hill hammered three home runs as the Lions overcame an early four-run deficit to topple Carson-Newman in Friday afternoon's South Atlantic Conference contest at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex.
"Their approaches were better than ours," Carson-Newman coach Tom Griffin said. "Our two at-bats in the third and fourth were very poor by all of our hitters. The outs were easy so he gets four runs scored off of him and he doesn't have to work very hard. All of a sudden it keeps him alive when maybe they were going to the bullpen. Wheels fell apart with wild pitches. Freebies, we lost. It was sloppy play."
Mars Hill (15-20-1, 7-12) beats Carson-Newman (20-16, 11-8) for the sixth straight game and the 10th in the 11 most recent meetings between the two programs.
Following a 6-4-3 double play, Alec Bivins walked Cade Snapp (Seymour, Tenn.) on five pitches. The Eagles put Snapp in motion and Ethan Goforth (Blacksburg, Va.) slapped a double inside of the first-base bag to the wall in the corner to score Snapp and open the scoring. Tyler Thompson (Gallatin, Tenn.) ambushed the next pitch and grounded it through the hole on the left side of the infield to plate Goforth and make it a 2-0 contest.
Once again in the second, Bivins retired the first two batters before Micah Genter (Jasper, Tenn.) sliced a single to left field. Brett Langhorne (Mechiancsville, Va.) followed with a bunt single that hit the third base bag and John Sharpe (Franklin, Tenn.) was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Snapp ripped the first pitch of his at-bat into left field to score a pair and push the margin to four.
Dillon Cate (Sevierville, Tenn.) had retired eight straight batters when Brett Brubaker launched a 3-1 delivery to the center field side of the scoreboard in right field to get Mars Hill on the scoreboard and cut the deficit to three at 4-1.
In the top of the fifth, Mars Hill sent eight men to the plate and scored five times to take a 6-4 advantage. An RBI ground out by Daniel Vitello and a base hit from Cody Cline made it a one-run game. With two outs and two out, Christian Stampler banged his 14th home run of the season over the wall in left to give Mars Hill the lead.
A passed ball from Cate provided an extra run for the Lions in the top of the sixth inning. With two on and two outs, Matt Bradley (Talbott, Tenn.) came on in relief and before throwing a pitch picked off the runner at second base to end the threat.
With one out in the top of the seventh, Matt Honeycutt cranked the first pitch he saw over the fence in left field to push the margin to 8-4 as the Lions scored for the fourth straight frame.
Bivins had retired 19 of the final 22 men that he faced in the game and exited after eight innings of four-run, eight-hit baseball with five strikeouts. The righty earned the win to improve to 3-2.
Jared Mathewson entered to pitch the ninth stanza. Colby Morgan (Hixson, Tenn.) pounded a 1-2 pitch over the fence in center field to open the ninth pull the Eagles within three at 8-5. A strikeout and two ground outs ended the day.
Langhorne, Goforth and Thompson all had a pair of hits on the day as Snapp drove in a pair in the game while the group left six men on base in the contest.
Brubaker and Honeycutt each had three hits and an RBI in the game as Mars Hill pounded out 12 hits.
Cate took his second loss of the season to fall to 4-2 as he allowed a season-high seven runs, six earned over 5 2/3 innings of work on nine hits and one walk with six punch outs.
The two teams moved the series-concluding doubleheader to Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. inside of the friendly confines. Broadcast coverage starts at 12:50 p.m. on cneagles.com/live with the Eagle Sports Network providing the sights and sounds.
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