MARS HILL, N.C. – The Mars Hill (17-17) baseball team jumped out to a big lead and held on to defeat Southern Wesleyan (9-22) on Thursday afternoon at Don Henderson Field. The Lions led by as much as 12-1 before watching the Warriors post seven runs in the top of the ninth, but it was too little, too late with the Blue and Gold hanging on for the 12-8 win.
Brett Brubaker led the Lions offensively, going 4-for-5 from the dish with a homerun, two doubles, a single, six RBIs, and three runs scored. Four other players recorded two hits during a game that saw a season-best 16 hits as a team. Barrett Hennings added his first homerun of the season in the victory, while Daniel Vitello tallied two RBIs.
Alec Hrynda went 3-of-5 from the plate for SWU, while Julio Justo contributed three RBIs from a homerun in the seven-run ninth.
The Lions jumped out to a commanding 10-0 advantage through the first three innings of the game, scoring 3-4-3 runs, respectively. Brubaker and Travis Owens had RBI doubles in the first, while Shomarii Thomas singled to right field in the first to plate a run.
Brubaker was at it again in the bottom of the second, lacing a double to right field for a bases-clearing two-bagger. Matt Honeycutt followed with a sharp line drive back through the box to score Brubaker. Vitello started the scoring in the bottom of the third with a two-RBI double to left field and Brubaker collected yet another RBI with a single to the right side.
Southern Wesleyan finally scratched in the top of the sixth when Izzy Martinez reached on a defensive miscue, allowing Justin Brew to touch the plate, cutting the Lions lead to 10-1.
However, Brubaker stayed hot and led off the bottom of the sixth with a majestic homerun to right field, collecting his season-high sixth RBI. Hennings followed suit in the bottom of the seventh, going opposite field off the scoreboard for his first dinger on the year.
The Warriors did not go quietly in the top of the ninth after scoring seven runs on seven hits. Justo tallied a three-run shot, while Justin Brew added a sacrifice fly in the at-bat. Martinez reached first on a hit before advancing to second on an error by the Lions, allowing two runs to score and Avery Mahon blooped a single down the right field line to bring in the final run for SWU. The Warriors loaded the bases with two outs, but reliever Fausto Turro got Justo to groundout to short to secure the win.
During a platoon day on the mound for Mars Hill, Troy Hall (2-2) pitched a perfect first inning to earn the win, while Dustin Parsons (0-1) was tagged with the loss after throwing 1.1 innings and giving up six runs on six hits.
The Lions will return to South Atlantic Conference play on Saturday, traveling to Brevard to take on the Tornado. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.