MARS HILL, N.C. – Three runs in the final two innings capped an improbable comeback and lifted the Anderson baseball team to a 15-12 win over Mars Hill in a crucial South Atlantic Conference matchup, Friday afternoon at Henderson Field.
Anderson (17-23, 9-13 SAC) rallied from a 10-run deficit after three innings to win its third straight decision and drew even with the Lions in the battle for the eighth spot in the league standings. Mars Hill fell to 19-22-1 overall and 9-13 in the conference with just its second loss in 14 games.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Sophomore Dillon Carpenter was 2-for-4 on the day, with a single and a double and scored four times, while redshirt sophomore Joseph Strange added a pair of singles and crossed the plate once. Classmate Matthew Overton was 2-for-5 and drove in four runs, including three with his ninth home run of the season in the fifth inning. Redshirt freshman Chandler Castleberry notched a pair of doubles, including a three-run double with two outs in the sixth inning. Senior William Thomas was 2-for-5 and scored three times, with freshman Tyler Berry chipping in two singles and an RBI. Senior Tyler Miller belted his third homer of the season and recorded an RBI-single.
Sophomore Christian Carpenter improved to 4-3 on the season, while limiting the high-powered Lions' offense to just a single in 2 1/3 innings of relief. He struck out four and walked three. Junior left-hander Matthew Stanley captured his fifth save of the campaign by getting the final out of the contest. The left-hander faced a pair of batters, while walking one and fanning one.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Trojans dug themselves an early hole, but chipped away and were able to climb out. Both teams entered the contest averaging double-figure runs over the last several games and Mars Hill used a grand slam in the first inning to power a five-run inning and jumped out to an early 8-0 lead on the strength of a three-run homer in the bottom of the second.
The Lions added a pair of runs in the third inning to build a 10-0 cushion, but the Trojans, who were hitless through three innings, saw their bats come alive in the fourth frame. Miller led off with his home run over the fence in left-center, while Carpenter followed with a double. He crossed the plate when Overton pulled a single through the right side and Overton scored on Joseph Strange's single up the middle for AU's third run.
AU added another three runs on Overton's opposite-field, two-out homer in the fifth and after Mars Hill tacked on a solo run in the bottom of the fifth, the Black and Gold climbed within 11-10 behind a four-run sixth inning. The Trojans sandwiched a pair of two-run innings in the seventh and eighth frames around another score by the Lions in the bottom of the seventh to give AU a 14-12 edge.
The pair of eighth-inning runs gave the Trojans the lead and they capitalized on a Mars Hill error to add an unearned insurance run in the top of the ninth. Mars Hill managed to get the tying run on first base with two outs in its final at-bat, but Stanley earned the save with a strikeout.
STAT OF THE GAME
Seven AU batters recorded two hits on the afternoon.
• AU has scored a combined 88 runs and recorded 96 hits over its last eight games.
• Chandler Castleberry has five home runs the last eight games.
• Junior Matthew Stanley leads the squad with five saves.
• AU claimed its' ninth win in the last 11 matchups with the Lions.
• Christian Carpenter leads the pitching staff with four wins and 18 appearances out of the bullpen.
The Trojans and Lions will wrap up the three-game series by squaring off on the diamond in a Saturday doubleheader, which is set for a noon start. AU will be searching for its second straight series win over a league opponent after taking two-of-three from Wingate last week.