by Doug Page
WILSON, N.C. – Junior Ricks Dearing and sophomore Noah Almond each hit their first home runs of the season, but it wouldn't be enough for the Barton College baseball team as the Bulldogs dropped a pair of games against Mercy College on Sunday. The Bulldogs rallied late in game one before falling 9-7 to the Mavericks. Mercy scored early in the game to en route to capturing an 11-3 victory.
The Bulldogs (5-8) tallied 11 hits in game one and rallied from an early 6-0 deficit, battling through the middle innings to produce runs against the Mercy bullpen. Mercy (3-1) combined to plate 20 runs and record 27 hits on the day as the Mavericks tallied 16 hits in game two.
Dearing finished game one 2-for-4 at the plate with two runs scored and three runs batted in. The Yorktown, Va. native belted a two-run home run for Barton in the bottom of the sixth inning that pulled the Bulldogs to within three runs of the Mavericks. Almond finished the game 2-for-4 with one RBI and one run scored. The Raleigh, N.C. native started the bottom of the seventh inning off with a home run to left field. Junior Gatlin Pate and freshman Colby Warren each tallied a pair of hits and one RBI in game one for BC, while freshman Mason Cooper also recorded a pair of hits.
John Mooradian recorded five hits from the lead-off spot for the Mavericks, while Miguel Ortiz Sanchez tallied two hits and three RBIs in game one for Mercy. Anthony Murphy continued his hot start to the season for the Mavericks by notching three hits and six RBIs on the day. Murphy propelled the Mercy offense in the second game, tallying four RBIs through the first three innings.
The Mavericks surged offensively in the top of the first inning of game one against Barton and freshman start Kendrick Creasey. Mercy plated four runs on three hits to take a 4-0 lead and chase Creasey from the mound after one inning. Freshman left-hander Alex Hart would take over on the mound for the Bulldogs in the second inning. The Mavericks would stretch their lead to 6-0 in the frame as Sanchez delivered a single to right field to plate a pair of runs.
Barton had an opportunity to cut into the Mercy lead in the bottom of the second inning against starter Andrew Hernandez. Sophomore Chase Riker worked a walk to get things going for the Bulldogs and would be followed two batters later by Almond, who sent a single through the left side to give BC a pair of runners on base. Hernandez got freshman Tate Proctor to strike out swinging for the second out of the inning but would see Barton load the bases on a fielding error by the third baseman. The Mavericks got out of the inning as redshirt freshman catcher Danny Rodriguez grounded into a fielder's choice.
The Bulldogs trimmed the Mercy lead to 6-2 in the bottom of the third as Cooper scored from third on a throwing error by the catcher as the Mavericks attempted to get Cooper caught in a run-down. One batter later, Warren brought home Pate with a single to center field. Barton answered with two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to cut the deficit to 7-4. Freshman Charlie Horne scored from third as Dearing delivered an infield single for BC. Pate would later plate Dearing with a single to right field on the first pitch of his at-bat.
Mercy took a four-run lead in the top of the fifth inning against Hart and the Bulldogs. The Mavericks seemed poised to plate more than just a run as they loaded the bases against junior reliever Ryan Pifer. The Mavericks would strand all three runners as Pifer got Joseph Sadallah to pop up to the shortstop and end the inning. Dearing cut the Mercy advantage to 8-6 with a two-run home run in the sixth. The Mavericks answered with a run in the seventh, while Barton tallied one in the bottom of the frame to pull within two before the final out would be recorded.
In game two it would be another early offensive outburst for the Mavericks. Mercy plated a pair of runs in the top of the first inning against Barton freshman right-hander Landry Moore. The Mavericks followed by adding four runs to their total in the top of the second inning. Barton committed a pair of errors in the field between the two innings that would lead to all six runs becoming unearned.
Moore exited the game after two innings and handed the ball over to freshman Clay Walters. The left-hander from Wake Forest would allow one run in the top of the third inning as the Mavericks upped their lead to 7-0. The Bulldogs would score all three of their runs in the bottom of the fourth inning against Mercy reliever Noah Krzyzak. Warren and freshman Maxton Brown started the inning with back-to-back singles to put a pair of runners on for BC. Both runners would advance to second and third following a wild pitch. Warren scored on a throwing error by the catcher to give Barton its first run of the game.
Barton freshman Alec Seaton was responsible for plating the second run of the inning with his sacrifice fly to left field. With two outs in the frame, freshman Austin Lee sent the first pitch that he saw to center to score sophomore Hayden Amodeo.
Mercy would get the three runs back in the top of the fifth inning against Walters to take a 10-3 lead. Mercy completed its scoring with a single run against junior reliever Clint Marsh in the top of the sixth inning. Barton looked to start a rally in the bottom of the seventh inning, loading the bases with two outs. Brown would pop up to the shortstop to end the game and leave all three runners on base.
Barton is back home on Tuesday, Feb. 20 for a single game against Winston-Salem State beginning at 2 p.m.