Brevard, N.C. - Randy O’Dell, Zack Merriken and Steele Myers all went deep to stake the Tornados to an early lead and the BC bullpen had to shut down a late Mars Hill rally as Brevard recorded the 9-8 victory over the Lions on Friday afternoon at Gil Coan Field.
O’Dell and Myers each had three hits and Myers drove in four runs to support Casey Smith (2-5) as Brevard improves to 11-13, 3-9 SAC on the season. Christian Diaz had three RBIs in the contest, but it wasn’t enough for MHC starter Kyle Dietrich (1-2) as the Lions fell to 12-18, 5-8 in conference play.
After a scoreless first inning, Mars Hill got on the scoreboard as Diaz drove a double down the right field line, scoring Michael Brittian to put the Lions up. Dalton Hardee followed with a fielder’s choice, scoring Coty Pate from third as the Lions put runners on first and second with none out. However, Smith escaped the jam, getting Tyler Reboulet to hit into the 1-6-3 double play and retired Michael Bueker on a grounder to limit the damage.
The Tornados answered in the bottom of the third as Dietrich suffered through a bout of wildness, hitting Ron Patterson to lead off the inning and Derek Ham followed with a base hit to put two runners on. O’Dell followed with a three-run blast over the left field fence to put Brevard up 3-2. Dietrich plunked the next two BC batters, Merriken and Brett Brinson, before retiring the next two batters in an attempt to get out of the inning. Myers followed the pair of outs by connecting with the first pitch of his at-bat and the ball carried out of the park, scoring three as the Tornados went up 6-3.
Mars Hill cut into the lead in the fourth as Diaz scored on a wild pitch, but the Tornados plated three more in the bottom half of the inning as Merriken drilled a one-out two-run home run over the bullpen in left field and Myers added an RBI single up the middle, scoring Ethan Pressley as Brevard held the 9-3 lead.
The score would remain the same until the top of the seventh as Rusty Smith drove a sacrifice fly out to left field, scoring Bueker to put the score at 9-4.
Heading into the top of the ninth, Smith took the mound retiring two of the first three MHC batters before Smith drove a base hit up the middle, scoring Bueker. Brittian was hit by a pitch, moving Smith to second and a base hit by Adam Lewis loaded the bases. Coach McCay summoned Kevin Hamilton from the bullpen, but Pate drew a walk, scoring Smith and Diaz greeted the right-handed with a base hit up the middle, plating two as the Lions put the score at 9-8 with runners on second and third. However, Dustin Haithcox entered the game for Brevard and recorded his third save of the season, retiring Hardee on strikes as the Tornados took the first game of the weekend series over the Lions, 9-8.
The Tornados and Lions will face off again tomorrow afternoon in a doubleheader to complete the South Atlantic Conference weekend series. First pitch of the doubleheader is set for 1 p.m. at Gil Coan Field.