Mount Union couldn't have asked for a better start to its PIAA Class AA first-round baseball matchup with South Fayette.
But the Trojans couldn't make it stand for seven innings.
The visiting Lions rallied to score three runs in the top of the seventh inning to edge Mount Union, 5-4, at Peoples Natural Gas Field on Monday.
Lion coach James Barton couldn't have been happier with how his team bounced back.
"I have to give my kids credit for not quitting," he said.
The WPIAL's No. 3 team went right to work. Shortstop Aaron Fonner led off the game with a single and scored the first run, giving the Lions a 1-0 lead.
The Trojans responded right away in the bottom of the first inning.
Lead-off hitter Boomer Brown belted a leadoff single and scored on a sacrifice fly by Trojan shortstop Trevon Walker to tie the game at 1-1. The inning was capped off with an RBI single by Brandon Rogers to give the District 6 champions a 4-1 lead.
"The first inning offensively we were good," Mount Union coach Nick Imperioli said.
The Lions managed to cut the lead in half on an RBI double by Jake Quattro in the next inning.
Starting pitchers Darrian Stapleton for Mount Union and South Fayette's Zach Walker managed to put on a pitching clinic for the next five innings. Neither pitcher allowed a run with Stapleton allowing five hits to Walker's four.
"I was just missing my pitches early," Walker said. "I started to pick things up, and I found my spots."
He gave up four runs on the day, striking out five and walking six.
The Lions' offense was able to provide him the run support he needed.
Quattro drew a lead-off walk and scored on Fetchet's single to cut the deficit. Catcher Chris Sarnowski finished it off with a two-run double to put the Lions ahead for good, 5-4.
"They're a good team," Barton said. "They fought hard; they scratched."
The Lions will now meet WPIAL foe Riverside in the state quarterfinals on Thursday at a time and site to be announced.
Although frustrated, Imperioli was happy with the season.
"We did a good job," he said. "The kids played well. When you lose, it's not so much the loss, it's how we lost."
SOUTH FAYETTE (5): A. Fonner ss 422, Godwin 3b-lf 302, Fetchet cf 411, Sarnowski 402, Orler cr 000, Witt dh 301, Opar pr 000, Sharp cr 000, Walker p 000, Savisky lf 200, Z. Fonner 2b 200, Barber 1b 410, Smith rf 300, Coyne cr-ph 100, Quattro 2b-3b 111. Totals - 32-5-8.
MOUNT UNION (4): Brown c 412, Wakefield lf 413, McClain 1b 412, Walker ss 400, Kylor 2b 311, Hefner cf-lf 300, A. Atherton pr 000, Rogers 3b 301, Morgan rf 400, Stapleton p 000, McMullen cf 000, H. Atherton dh 200. Totals - 31-4-9.
SCORE BY INNINGS
South Fayette110 000 3-5 8 2
Mount Union400 000 0-4 9 3
E-Kylor 2, Wakefield; Quattro 2. 2B-. RBI-Fetchet 2, Sarnowski 2, Quattro; Walker, Rogers, Morgan.
Umpires: Home-Gary Cost; First-Jeff Holter; Second-Jay Siegel; Third-Hank Wilson
Records: South Fayette (16-7); Mount Union (19-5).