Quinn homers in series-opening win over Mars HillMarch 6, 2015
BREVARD, N.C. – Brevard used a five-run first inning, capped by a three-run homer from Pat Quinn, to return to its early season form and down visiting Mars Hill 5-3 in the opener of the teams’ South Atlantic Conference series on Friday afternoon.
The Tornados (8-10, 4-8 SAC) rocked Mars Hill (2-9, 0-7 SAC) starter Caleb Edwards, who lasted just one-third of an inning and surrendered all five runs on four hits. Brennan Allen coaxed an eight-pitch leadoff walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch before a John Slade single put runners on the corners for Ryan Smith. Smith knocked an RBI single up the middle to plate the inning’s first run, then Brock Helton sent a nearly identical shot up the middle to make the score 2-0.
Edwards retired Kody Spencer on strikes before Quinn stroke to the plate. Quinn never took the bat off his shoulder, allowing Edward to run the count full, before rocketing the 3-2 offering down the left field line. The ball cleared the fence by inches just to the right of the foul pole, giving Quinn his second home run of the season and the Tornados a 5-0 lead.
The Lions took advantage of a pair of Tornados’ errors in the third to close the gap to three runs. A hard grounder to the left side of the infield was misplayed with two on and two outs, allowing a run to score. Moments later, the ball slipped out of starting pitcher Hunter Donaldson’s hand on what was intended to be a fake pickoff move to second base, allowing the second run of the inning to come in. Donaldson escaped the frame without further damage, inducing a popup to third base to strand a runner at third.
Donaldson earned the win with a tremendous performance for the Tornados, lowering his ERA to 1.93 for the season. He allowed three runs, two of them unearned, in six innings and surrendered four hits. He struck out two batters and threw 102 pitches in the winning effort.
Tyler Konzen was credited with a three-inning save after being called upon to protect a two-run lead at the start of the seventh inning. Konzen allowed just two hits over the final three innings, tallying three strikeouts while walking one batter and stranding the tying run at first base in the ninth. Konzen’s ERA now stands at 1.03, the lowest on the team among hurlers who have thrown at least three innings this season.
Quinn finished the day 2-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored to pace the Tornados offensively. Smith and Helton had identical stat lines, both tallying three hits in four at-bats with an RBI and a run scored. John Slade and Brayden Morris each notched one hit apiece as well, giving Brevard 10 on the day.
Mars Hill managed just six hits but got a strong pitching performance from Alec Bivins. After Edwards was lifted in the first inning, Bivins pitched the final 7.2 innings for the Lions without allowing a run, giving up six hits and striking out six with his sidearm delivery.
The Lions and Tornados will conclude their three-game set with a doubleheader tomorrow. First pitch of the opening game is set for noon, while the seven-inning series finale will begin at approximately 3:00 p.m.