BASEBALL: Two-run fifth clinches win for CAC over Benton

BENTON — The Benton Panthers lost to Central Arkansas Christian Friday night after two runs in the fifth inning gave the Mustangs a three-run cushion as they went on to win 6-2 at Panther Field.
With runners on first and second and leading 3-2 in the top of the fifth, CAC would score their first run of the inning when Benton pitcher Justin Vincent over threw the third baseman. CAC pitcher Joey Pinney laid down what would have been a sacrifice bunt, but Vincent’s throw sailed allowing David Downs, who reached on an infield single to lead off the inning, to score.
A RBI single by Dillon Richardson scored John Edwards, who walked, giving CAC a 5-2 lead.
CAC took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first when Richardson hit a three-run home run over the right field wall off of starter Holden Hanley.
With two outs and a runner on third, Pinney reached first after he was hit by a pitch. Richardson’s home run came on a 3-2 pitch on the next at-bat.
However, Benton would answer in the bottom of the first, scoring a run to trim the lead to 3-1.
Brooks Balisterri doubled down the third base line and would later score on a fielder’s choice by Ashton Roberts. Roberts hit the ball to the third baseman and as Balisterri was running home, the third baseman threw it home but it bounced in front of the catcher allowing him to score.
After a 1-2-3 top of the second from Hanley, Benton scored their second run of the game in the bottom half of the inning thanks to a single and an error.
With two outs, Garrison Roy reached after being hit by a pitch. He would advance to second on a passed ball and Taylor Schmidt followed with a single to left field.
However, the ball would get past the left fielder, allowing Roy to score and for Schmidt to end up on third.
Balisterri would ground out to end the inning.
Balisterri finished the game 1 for 3 with a strikeout and a walk. Roberts was 1 for 3 and Stuart Levy was 0 for 1 with two walks.
Hanley earned the loss, pitching 2 1/3 innings allowing three runs on two hits with a strikeout and a walk. Vincent pitched 1 2/3 innings of relief allowing two runs on two hits with four walks and two strikeouts.
Jordan Horton pitched 2 2/3 innings, allowing one run (unearned) on two hits with two strikeouts and no walks.
In Thursday’s game against White Hall, the Benton Panthers won 8-3.
Balisterri was 2 for 3 with two runs scored, a RBI and two walks. Pryor was 2 for 4 with two RBIs and Roberts was 0 for 4 with a run scored and a RBI. Levy was 0 for 2 with a run scored and a walk. Carson Holloway was 1 for 3 with a run scored and a walk.
Garrison Roy was 1 for 3 with two runs scored and a walk. Schmidt was 0 for 1 with two walks and a run scored.
Coulton Lee pitched six innings, allowing three runs (all unearned) on four hits with five strikeouts and two walks. Holloway pitched an inning of relief, allowing just one hit with three strikeouts.