Baseball Squanders Big Lead, Falls to Mars Hill in Series Opener


SALISBURY, NC -- Mars Hill rallied for a 13-12 win over host Catawba in South Atlantic Conference baseball action on Friday night at Newman Park.  The Lions trailed 10-2 after three innings, but took the lead on Dalton Hardee’s (Boone, NC) two-out, two-run single in the eighth.  The win improves Mars Hill to 9-5 overall and 5-2 in the SAC, while the 11th-ranked Catawba Indians fall to 13-3 and 4-3.

Catawba built its big lead with a seven-run third when the Indians hit three home runs.  Josh Hohn (Greensboro, NC/S. Guilford HS/N. Greenville) and John Neese (Summerfield, NC/NW Guilford HS/Guilford Tech) went back-to-back for a 6-2 edge then Craige Lyerly (Salisbury, NC/E. Rowan HS) capped the frame with a three-run homer.

Mars Hill got a pair of runs back in the fifth the tied the game in the sixth.  An error by Catawba to leadoff the sixth sparked the rally.  Five of the next six batters reached base before a two-run double by Brandon Sovaca (Rieglewood, NC) tied the game at 10-all.

Catawba retook the lead in its sixth on consecutive RBI doubles by Hohn and Neese.  Rusty Smith (Leesburg, VA) led off the Lion eighth with a double and Adam Lewis (MacClenny, FL) was hit by a pitch.  Smith would score on a groundout by Rob Dobbins (Greenville, SC) before the single by Hardee.

Tony Hearrell (Charlotte, NC) limited Catawba to just one hit in two innings of work to earn the save.  Neese singled with one out in the eighth, but Brett Huffman’s (Salisbury, NC/W. Rowan) liner was snagged by a leaping Devin Presnell (Boone, NC) and turned into a double play.  Kyle Dietrich (Frederick, MD) picked up the win with an inning a third of scoreless relief.

Hardee and Mike Kitt (West Islip, NY) each had three hits for Mars Hill, who collected 16 on the night.  Presnell, Smith and Michael Bueker (Cooper City, FL) all had two hits.  Smith connected for a solo home run in the second.

Wade Moore (Salisbury, NC/W. Rowan HS/NC State) led Catawba with four of the Tribe’s 16 hits.  Neese had three hits, while Lyerly and Hohn each drove in three.  Huffman also homered for Catawba.

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