FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -- The Mitchell College baseball team opened the 2017 season with a 7-5 loss to Rutgers University-Camden on the first day of play at the Armstrong Invitational.
The Mariners built a 4-0 lead in the second inning but saw the margin cut in half in the third and disappear in the fifth. Rutgers-Camden scored three runs in the frame to take a 5-4 lead and never trailed again, adding insurance runs in both the eighth and ninth innings.
Garet Griffin gave the Mariners hope with a one-out double to center field in the ninth to bring the tying run to the plate. However, Rutgers-Camden reliever Carter Fichter struck out the next two batters to close the door.
Markus Melendez went 3-for-4 with a double, triple and one run driven in to lead the Mitchell offense. Griffin also had three hits on the day while Kyle Hartenstein added two.
Mitchell starter Axel De Jesus lasted 4.1 innings and struck out two while surrendering five runs. Jakari Pellegrini and Marcus Guadarrama also saw action in relief and gave up one run apiece.
The Mariners next face tournament host Methodist University on Saturday, February 25 at noon.