MAN — It was Andrew Merritt’s night on Tuesday night at Man High School’s Dr. Juan Nordelo Field.
Merritt was the winning pitcher and also helped his own cause by ripping a solo homer and a single as the Man High School baseball team won 7-4 over River View to improve to 15-11 on the season.
Merritt, a senior right-hander, fired a complete game win for the Hillbillies as he struck out nine batters and walked just two over seven innings of work. He allowed just one earned run on the night.
It was the Raiders, however, which took a 2-0 lead on Man in the first inning. Only one of the runs was earned.
With the score 1-0, River View’s LeShon Benton doubled and scored the only earned run of the frame on an RBI single by Bradley Harvey.
Man then cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the first frame, 2-1, as Aaron Willard walked and came around to score on a balk.
The Billies added four runs in the bottom of the second inning off Demetrus Duff with the big blow being the homer off the bat of Merritt to take a 5-2 lead.
Man pushed its lead to 7-2 in the bottom of the third inning off River View relief pitcher James Mills. Freshman Braden Griffin led off with a double and Jordan Simpson then walked. Griffin would then score on a double steal to make it 6-2. Jacob Riggins then lofted a fly ball which was dropped in center field to score Simpson to make it 7-2.
Both teams were scoreless in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
River View went on to plate two runs in the top of the seventh off Merritt to cut the Man lead to 7-4.
Zackery Shelton led off the inning with a single and Mills reached on an error.
Merritt then fanned the next batter before Austin Walker delivered a two-run double to make it 7-4. Merritt then got Harvey to ground out and got Benton to fly out to end the game and give Man the win.
Man had seven runs on five hits and committed three errors, while the Raiders had four runs on six hits and four errors.
Man was led by Merritt with two hits. Griffin, Riggins and Thomas Blair had one hit each.
The Billies snapped a four-game losing skid with last night’s win and are scheduled to return to action on Wednesday at Westside in a 7 p.m. ballgame. Man then hosts Liberty Raleigh on Thursday at 7 p.m. and then plays host to the Poca Dots on Saturday at 4 p.m. in the regular season finale.
Next week is Class A sectional week for Man.