by Benny Benton
WILSON, N.C. – Barton College sophomore Chase Riker had a hand in all five of his team's runs on Friday night, driving in four and scoring the other, but that effort was one of the few bright spots for the Bulldogs in a 16-5 loss at the hands of visiting Mercy College.
Riker, a resident of Hampstead, N.C., ripped a two-run homer in the first inning and added a two-run double in the sixth. He scored the team's final run later in the sixth on an errant throw by the Mercy catcher following a wild pitch, a play which tied the contest at 5-all.
However, the Mavericks (1-0) sent 12 batters to the plate in the top of seventh and scored eight runs on just three hits to turn the game into a rout. The big blow in the frame was a grand slam by junior Ryan Murphy, his second home run of the night.
The blast came after two Barton relievers had walked two batters and hit two more to load the bases and force in the go-ahead run. Shaine Carpenter followed with a solo home run, and Mercy added two more runs after a BC error extended the already-long inning.
The Mavericks tacked on three more runs in the eighth, two of them scoring on a triple into the right-field corner by Adonis Garcia.
Carpenter, Garcia and John Mooradian all posted three hits each for Mercy, and Mooradian also stole four bases, including second, third and home in the third inning.
Offensively, Barton (4-6) managed just five total hits and struck out nine times. Defensively, the Bulldogs committed three errors which accounted for four Mercy runs and allowed five stolen bases. And the pitching staff surrendered 13 total hits, including the three home runs, walked seven and hit three batters.
Junior pitcher Dylan Ward kept the Bulldogs in the contest for the first six innings, scattering seven hits, walking two and striking out nine. He gave up the first five runs, but just three of them were earned.
Mercy starter Kevin Tise pitched very effectively, giving up just two hits and two runs, walking one and striking out six in five innings of work. However, Tise was left with a no-decision after Riker helped Barton rally to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth.
Matteo Finocchi (1-0), the third of Mercy's four pitchers in the game, picked up the win, while Ryan Pifer (0-1) took the loss for the Bulldogs.
The game was played at Hunt High as the two teams tried to work around rain expected Saturday afternoon. Barton and Mercy will return to Nixon Field on Saturday, where they hope to get in a single game beginning at noon. A doubleheader is planned for Sunday starting at 11 a.m.