The No.17 Maryville College baseball squad rallied late, but fell to Piedmont College 4-3, 6-5 in a key USA South doubleheader beginning a three-game series on Friday evening in Demorest, Georgia.
In game one, Maryville's Anthony Rodriguez recorded a quality start with five innings of five hit work. The sophomore left-hander struck out three while allowing only one run in the bottom of the fifth.
Piedmont tied the game off Rodriguez in the fifth when Noah Heatherly led off the inning with a double. He was sacrificed to third before a Jabin Smith RBI single knotted the game at one apiece.
The Lions took the lead in the sixth when Andrew Burden walked, stole second, and dashed home on a Tyler Burdette RBI double off MC's Trevor Townsend.
MC tied the game and took a brief lead in the eighth when Johnny Carpenter singled and scored on and Evan Ezell RBI single. Mike Homan would later score on a Hayden Hollingsworth bases-loaded hit by pitch RBI making the score 3-2.
Piedmont claimed the series opening victory in the eighth when Andrew Burden singled in Brady Ballstadt and Justin Groover to give the Lions a 4-3 advantage. The Lion's Buddy Green recorded his 5th save to help reliever Matt Vonderschmidt go to 3-2 on the season.
During the nightcap, Maryville took a 2-0 lead in the third inning when Evan Ezell singled and advanced to second on a Hayden Hollingsworth walk. An Andrew Henry loaded the bases and Johnny Carpenter laced a 2 RBI single to score Ezell and Hollingsworth.
The Scots added a run in the fourth when Mike Homan doubled and was sacrificed to third by Joey Tomlinson. Shortstop Patrick Messinger laid down a sacrifice bunt to plate Homan giving MC a 3-0 early advantage.
Piedmont cut the Scots' lead in the fourth when Jonathen Burkett doubled and later scored on an Evan Meade RBI double off MC starter Christian Poulsen. Noah Heatherly, who earlier walked, scampered home on a Caleb Norton groundout to make the score 3-2.
The host Lions tied the game in the fifth inning when Brady Ballstadt doubled and later crossed home following an Andrew Burden RBI single through the left side of the infield.
MC went up 4-3 in the sixth. Upon loading the bases with a Mike Homan single, Joey Tomlinson double, and Evan Ezell walk, Patrick Messinger lined a sacrifice fly to center field to score Homan. A wild pitch plated Tomlinson, and Maryville possessed a 5-3 advantage after their at bat in the sixth.
Scots' starter Christian Poulsen completed his work with six strong innings on the mound, scattering nine hits, allowing three runs, while striking out three.
Piedmont loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh, but senior right-hander Jerod Dickey came in to thwart the threat with a fly ball out to end the inning.
A trio of runs in the eighth inning gave the Lions the USA South doubleheader sweep. A Caleb Norton single with one out gave Piedmont some momentum. With two outs, Norton stole second and advanced to third on an MC miscue. Justin Grover drove Norton home with an RBI single before Brady Ballstadt blasted a two-run game winning home run over the left field wall off MC reliever Jerod Dickey.
The wins propelled Piedmont to 21-10 and 13-4 in USA South action. Maryville falls to 26-7 and 10-7 in league play.
The final game of the series is set for 2:00 p.m. on Saturday.