by Benny Benton
WILSON, N.C. – Barton College senior Trent Fennell took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, and the Bulldogs survived a late scare from Mercy College to take a 6-4 win over the visiting Mavericks Saturday at Nixon Field.
Fennell, a resident of Dunn, N.C., struck out five, walked two and hit one over the first six innings while holding the Mavericks (1-1) hitless.
Mercy, which produced 13 hits in Friday night's win over Barton, finally collected its first one Saturday on a single down the left-field line by Shaine Carpenter, one batter after Fennell hit Anthony Murphy with a pitch to open up the seventh. Adonis Garcia followed with a single to right-center to get Mercy on the board, and Ralph Pasols added a two-out, two-run single through the right side.
Fennell (2-1) gave up another single that moved Pasols to third, but got a groundout to get out of the inning with a 5-3 lead. The 6-5 right-hander left the game after the seventh having given up four hits, three earned runs and two walks while striking out eight.
Ricks Dearing led off the bottom of the seventh for Barton (5-6) with a double to right-center, his third hit of the game, and came around to score on a pair of wild pitches, increasing the Bulldogs' lead to 6-3.
After working a scoreless eighth, BC reliever Colby Warren walked two batters in the ninth and then surrendered a two-out single down the left field line to Joseph Sadallah.
Murphy, who clubbed two homers and drove in six runs on Friday night, came to the plate with a chance to put Mercy back into the lead, and it appeared he just might have done so after ripping the first pitch of the at-bat from Warren to deep right-center. However, the ball dropped into the glove of Barton center fielder Charlie Horne a step from the fence to end the game, giving Warren his second save of the season.
Like Fennell, Mercy starter Jack Kelly (0-1) was strong for the Mavericks through much of the game, tossing five scoreless innings while allowing just two BC hits.
Barton finally scored the game's first run in the bottom of the sixth. Dearing led off the frame with a single up the middle, and moved to second as Mason Cooper reached first on an errant throw from short. Two batters later, Chase Riker delivered his fifth RBI of the series and team-high 14th of the season on a single down the left-field line.
Warren, Barton's third baseman at the time, followed with another single in the same spot, scoring Cooper and moving Riker to third. The hit ended the day for Kelly, who would ultimately give up five hits and four runs (just one earned), walk one and strike out two in 5 1/3 innings.
Noah Almond, the first batter to face Mercy reliever Carmine Szynal, dropped down a sacrifice bunt that scored Riker from third and increased BC's lead to 3-0. Szynal then walked Tate Proctor, and Horne followed with an RBI single to right. Barton added a fifth run in the inning when Horne and Proctor pulled off a double-steal.
However, the 5-0 Barton lead did not last long, as the Mavericks began to rally in the top of the next inning.
The Bulldogs totaled eight hits in the contest off five Mercy pitchers.
The two teams hope to complete a four-game set on Sunday with a pair of seven-inning games. First pitch for game one is slated for 11 a.m. at Nixon Field.