Maryville College's Alden Wright blasted a solo shot in the bottom of the eighth, but it wasn't enough, as the Scots fell in the first loss of the 2018 campaign, 7-1.
The loss ends one of the best starts in Maryville College history, as the squad jumped to an 8-0 record to start the season. However, a pair of big innings gave N.C. Wesleyan the USA South opener with the series still on the line.
Maryville had a key opportunity in the top of the third, as Drew Johnson found the first hit for either team. Hayden Hollingsworth used a two-out single through the left side to put runners on the corners before the Scots would attempt the double steal. N.C. Wesleyan wasn't fooled, getting the 2-4-2 caught stealing at home to end the threat.
The Bishops' Trey Croom drew a lead-off walk to start the top of the fifth inning before a failed pickoff attempt put him on second. Caleb Narron moved him to third on a sacrifice, as a Brandon White RBI single up the middle – the first hit given up by the Scots – plated Croom. Maryville's second error of the inning would exacerbate the damage, as a double steal put runners on second and third with only one out. Alec Titmus would earn an RBI with a single down the right-field line to plate Wheat, while a wild pitch would score Logan Andrews from third, putting N.C. Wesleyan in control, 3-0.
Wheat singled to right to start the seventh inning before Andrews' sacrifice moved him to second. A hard-hit single up the middle by Titmus put runners on the corners with one out, before Cedric Kornegay's safety squeeze dished Wheat. A hit batsman and an infield single would juice the bags, before N.C. Wesleyan would score their second run of the day on a wild pitch. Titmus scored on the play, as Max Johnson's two-RBI triple off the top fence in right plated Nate Gardner and Brad Pennington. The four-run inning gave the Battling Bishops a 7-nil lead going to the seventh-inning stretch.
Alden Wright broke Maryville's silence in the bottom of the eighth. The right-fielder blasted a solo shot off the left-field fence for the Scots' fourth hit of the afternoon. Pinch-hitter Eric Hart and Mike Homan added back-to-back singles, but a double-play ball ended MC's rally. The Bishops took the win, 7-1.
Maryville (8-1, 0-1 USA South) was led by Homan's 2-for-3 afternoon, as Wright went 1-for-3 with his blast. Caleb Adams and Eric Hart each went 1-for-1, while Johnson and Hollingsworth each added hits on the afternoon.
N.C. Wesleyan (6-3, 1-0) was led by Wheat's 2-for-4 afternoon, as the catcher tallied an RBI and a pair of runs scored. Titmus went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI, while Johnson was 1-for-2 with a pair of walks and RBIs to go with his triple. Narron and Gardner each added hits, as Gardner, Pennington, Croom and Andrews all scored in the game.
Maryville will look next to the second game of the day, as the double-header continues against N.C. Wesleyan on Scotland Yard. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.