Huge early deficit too much for Bulldogs to overcome

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The Barton College baseball team dealt with a scenario — the need for a huge comeback — that it has frequently encountered of late on the Nixon Field diamond Thursday afternoon.

The Bulldogs of the NCAA Division II Conference Carolinas found themselves trailing 5-0 before they came to bat and went down to a 9-7 defeat against Mercyhurst (Pennsylvania) University, No. 4 ranked nationally among Division II teams.

The Lakers extended their undefeated start to six games, while Barton plunged to 7-15.

Needing no help, Mercyhurst benefited from four Barton errors that led to seven unearned runs. Three of the miscues occurred in the first inning. The Lakers added two runs in the sixth — after a Bulldogs error extended the inning.

Down 5-0, Barton trimmed the deficit to 5-3 in the third. A double by senior Rich Trifaro, a single by junior Ricks Dearing and a single by freshman Hunter Little got the Bulldogs on the scoreboard. After a walk to sophomore Chase Riker loaded the bases, freshman Mason Cooper delivered a two-run single.

Mercyhurst’s lead closed to 5-4 in the fourth. Barton plated a run when Trifaro walked, moved to second on a groundout and came home on another single by Little.

The Bulldogs trailed 7-5 when Dearing connected for his second home run, a solo shot, in the sixth. Trailing 9-5, Barton fought back for two runs in the eighth. A dropped fly ball and a walk set the stage for Little’s two-run double.

Little drove in four runs and Dearing scored three.

Powering the Lakers were Daniel Elliott and Matt Schneider with two-run homers and Drew Delsignore with three hits. Schneider connected in the first and Elliott unloaded in the seventh.

Barton starting pitcher Troy Maslowski, a junior right-hander, took the loss, his second without a win. Maslowski yielded seven runs — all unearned — in working six innings.

The Bulldogs are scheduled to oppose Clarion (Pennsylvania) University in a doubleheader Friday, beginning at noon, at Nixon Field.