HICKORY, N.C. – Mars Hill's baseball team won the first game of a three-set series against SAC rival Lenoir-Rhyne Saturday evening at Bears Field. The Lions improved to 24-19 overall and 10-9 in the league. The Bears fell to 21-20 on the season, 6-13 in the SAC.
Daniel Vitello went 3-5 with a RBI and a run scored to lead the Lions at the plate. Shomarii Thomas was 2-3 with a homerun while Gray McCurry went 1-4 with a homerun. Tom Mastrodonato picked up the win (3-1) pitching the final 4.0 innings in relief. He allowed only two runs while striking out six batters.
Alex Reynolds led the Bears offensively going 2-4 with a homerun, a double and two RBI. Thomas St. Clair took the loss (9-3) throwing 6.1 innings allowing four earned runs while striking out 11 batters.
After the Bears scored a single run in the second inning, Mars Hill added a pair of runs in the top of the third highlighted by a two-RBI double from Matt Honeycutt. After Thomas hit a solo homerun to center field in the top of the fourth frame, L-R added another run in the bottom half of the inning to make the score 3-2. The Bears tied the game at 3-all in the bottom of the fifth on a sacrifice fly.
In the top of the seventh inning, Hunter Merrill hit a triple to drive in Lance Edwards and then Vitello singled to plate Merrill to extend the MHU lead to 5-3. Gray McCurry hit a solo homerun to center field in the top of the eighth frame to account for what would later prove to be the game winning score. L-R pushed two runs across in the bottom of the eighth inning but the Lions' defense held strong to secure the 6-5 victory.
The teams will meet for a double-header on Saturday to complete the three-game SAC series. The first pitch is set for 1 p.m.