Barton drops series opener against #19 Mount Olive, 16-4

Archived photo of sophomore Chase Riker, who finished 1-for-1 at the plate with three walks and a run scored for the Bulldogs in Friday's loss at home against the University of Mount Olive. | Photo by Matt Proseus
Archived photo of sophomore Chase Riker, who finished 1-for-1 at the plate with three walks and a run scored for the Bulldogs in Friday's loss at home against the University of Mount Olive. | Photo by Matt Proseus

by Doug Page

WILSON, N.C. – The Barton College baseball team saw a 1-0 contest quickly turn into a double-digit advantage for the visiting Trojans from the University of Mount Olive on Friday at Nixon Field. The Bulldogs would go onto drop a 16-4 decision after Mount Olive plated six runs in the top of the third inning.

Barton (7-12, 1-3) had a tough time on offense against the Trojans as BC was held scoreless through the first four innings of play. Mount Olive (11-3, 1-0) used a six-run third inning followed by a four-run fourth inning to turn a 1-0 lead into an 11-0 advantage.

Freshman Hunter Little had a 2-for-3 effort at the plate for Barton as the Sanford, N.C. native tallied his third double of the season to go along with a run-scoring triple in the bottom of the sixth inning. Senior Rich Trifaro notched three hits for the Bulldogs and scored a run, while sophomore Noah Almond plated a run with a double in the bottom of the fifth inning. A pair of freshman, Maxton Brown and Alec Seaton, delivered sacrifice-flies for Barton in the bottom of the seventh frame, while freshman Kimball Toone recorded his first hit as a Bulldog. Sophomore Chase Riker had just one hit in the contest but was patient at the plate, drawing three walks in the contest.

Trae Sweeting delivered a two-run home run for Mount Olive in the sixth inning and finished with three RBI for the Trojans, while Nate Estes and Justin Carroll tallied three-hit games. Gunner Tolston had a 4-for-5 effort at the plate for Mount Olive and was responsible for driving in four runs for the Trojans. Jose Lopez had a pair of hits in four trips to the plate and recorded three RBI while scoring a pair of runs.

Mount Olive opened the scoring in the top of the second inning against Barton starter Troy Maslowski. The Trojans used consecutive hits from J.T. Stone and Lopez to produce a 1-0 lead after Carroll started the inning with a walk. Lopez sent a pitch from Maslowski back up the middle to allow Carroll to score.

Maslowski would see the Trojans up their lead to 3-0 in the third inning as Drew Ellis laced a single up the middle to plate a pair of Mount Olive runners. The hit would chase Maslowski from the game and see freshman Austin Lee takeover on the mound. Tolston gave the Trojans a 6-0 lead with a double to right field and would advance a runner to third base. The Trojans capped the scoring in the frame with a sacrifice-fly from Sweeting to make it 7-0.

After seeing the Trojans add four more runs to their total in the top of the fourth inning, the Bulldogs got onto the scoreboard against Mount Olive starter Brighton Hudson. Little started the frame with a double to left field and would come around to score on a double to right field off the bat of Almond. Trifaro followed with a single through the right-side before Hudson received back-to-back fly balls to end the frame.

Barton would add another run against Hudson in the bottom of the sixth inning after Riker worked a one-out walk. With two outs in the frame, Little took a 2-1 pitch and sent it to the wall in right field to plate Riker. The Bulldogs would plate a pair of runs against Mount Olive reliever Matt Heard in the bottom of the seventh inning. Trifaro started the frame with a single and would be followed by freshman Garrett Giddens reaching base on an error by the first baseman.

Brown and Seaton recorded sacrifice-flies to trim the Mount Olive lead to 14-4 and looked to add more offense after a walk to Riker. Amodeo grounded out to the first baseman to end the frame and strand a runner on base for Barton. The teams would play the eighth inning as Mount Olive added a pair of runs to up its lead to 16-4. The game would end following the completion of the frame due to darkness at Nixon Field.

In all, seven different pitchers would see time on the mound for BC as junior Ryan Pifer tossed 1.2 scoreless innings of relief for the Bulldogs. Maslowski (0-1) suffered his first loss of the season for Barton after allowing four runs on six hits through two innings of work. Hudson (2-1) allowed just two runs off six hits through six innings of work for the Trojans. Hudson fanned nine batters while issuing three walks in the contest. Beard allowed a pair of unearned runs over the final two innings for Mount Olive.

Barton continues its eight-game homestand by wrapping up its three-game series against the Trojans with a pair of games on Saturday.