The Mount Union baseball team got off to a bit of a rocky start in its regular season finale Friday afternoon.
Visiting Tyrone batted around in the top of the first inning, batting around, scoring three runs and forcing Trojan starting pitcher Seth Smith to throw 36 pitching.
The Eagles’ bubble burst in the bottom of the first with the Trojans sending 13 batters to the plate, collecting seven hits and scoring nine runs to take the lead for good.
Mount Union improved to 17-3 for the season and is currently fourth in the District 6-2A rankings. Tyrone is the top ranked team in the 2A standings and is also 17-3 for the spring.
The Eagles had two hits and took advantage of three walks and a pair of Trojan errors in the top of the first. Andrew Pearson led off the game with a double and scored on a throwing error that put Colson Lewis on second. Lewis went to third on a wild pitch and, after a walk to Kevin Lehner, scored on an errant pickoff throw. Lahner eventually scored on a two-out, bases loaded walk to Aiden Coleman.
In the bottom of the first, Grayson McClain walked and Matt Harshbarger singled. Both scored when Dylan Gearhart launched the first pitch he saw over the left field fence for a three-run homer to tie the game. After a couple flyouts, the Trojans came back to life, adding five more hits and six more runs to lead 9-3.
In the fourth, Quinnten Fultz and Klayton Willoughby hit RBI singles, then Harshbarger collected his third hit of the game to drive in two more and push the Mount Union lead to 13-3.
Lewis scored on a Cory Lehman sacrifice fly in the fourth to cut the deficit to 13-4 and Mount Union couldn’t find another run to end the game early.
“We made a couple uncharacteristic errors in the first inning and a very good baseball team took advantage of that,” said Mount Union coach Tim Hicks. “Then, we settled down, got out of that half of the inning and responded offensively in the bottom of the first. Grayson (McClain) did a good job of getting us starter and Dylan’s home run was huge. It gave us a big spark of energy.
“We didn’t settle and added four more runs in the second inning. Matt (Harshbarger) had a great day. It’s just too bad we couldn’t get one more run to put the game away early.”
Smith wound up going five innings to secure the win. He struck out one, walked four and allowed five hits. Gearhart pitched the final two innings, striking out one, walking none and surrendering just one hit.
“Seth did a good job and settling down and getting out of trouble in the first, then did a good job to pitch five full innings,” Hicks added. “This was a great win to end the regular season and get us ready for districts.”
For Tyrone, three pitchers combined to strike out four, walk three and allow 16 hits. Starter Bryce Hunter lasted just two-thirds on an inning to suffer the loss. Nic Light, the last of the trio, went four and one-third innings, allowing just four hits with three strikeouts and a walk. He didn’t give up a run.
Harshbarger and Fultz ended the game with three hits apiece. Gearhart drove in four runs and Harshbarger ended the day with three RBI.
Mount Union is expecting to host the ICC Championship game at 4 p.m. Thursday. The South Division champion hasn’t been determined as of yet.