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Thursday night's baseball roundup
Courtesy: Southern Conference
Release: 05/24/2018
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Mercer's Trey Truitt and Samford's Troy Dixon
Courtesy: Southern Conference

No. 5 Mercer 15, No. 9 Western Carolina 0

GREENVILLE, S.C. – No. 5 seed Mercer jumped out to a five-run lead through three innings and tacked on six more in the sixth and three in the seventh to defeat Western Carolina 15-0 in seven innings on Thursday at the Southern Conference Baseball Championship presented by Holston Gases at Fluor Field.

Mercer (37-20) earns a day off and will return to the field on Saturday at 12 p.m., facing the winner of No. 2 Samford and No. 3 Wofford, who play Thursday evening.

No. 9 seed Western Carolina (9-46) suffered its first loss of the tournament and moves to the loser’s bracket, facing No. 6 seed ETSU in an elimination game on Friday at 3:30 p.m.

Four different Bears drove in two as eight of the nine batters reached base as Mercer becomes the first program to defeat two opponents via the run rule in the same SoCon Baseball Championship. All-SoCon second-teamer Trey Truitt led the way, going 3-for-5 with a home run, two RBIs and three runs scored in the win. The 12 runs marked the 21st time in 2018 that Mercer had scored in 10 or more runs.

The Catamounts combined for four hits as a team and three errors in the contest. Will Prater had a pair of hits while Spencer Holcomb and Robinson each recorded singles.

Christian Vann picked up his fifth win of the season (5-3), striking out four batters and walking three over 5 1/3 innings. All-SoCon first-team member Robert Broom and Nick Spear combined for 1 2/3 innings without allowing a hit and each recorded a strikeout.

Western Carolina’s Corey Sikes was tagged with the loss after allowing 10 runs on 10 hits and one walk in 5 1/3 innings. Sikes falls to 0-5 on the season.

Mercer wasted no time getting on the board when Jackson Ware singled up the middle to bring in Brandon Michie and Truitt to give the Bears a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning.

After adding a run in the second, the Bears scored three in the third inning to take a commanding 6-0 lead. Michie began the scoring onslaught in the sixth inning, singling home two base runners to make the score 8-0. Michie would come around to score after JT Thomas was hit by a pitch.

Mercer scored three more runs in the sixth before Truitt launched the sixth SoCon tournament bomb of his career in the seventh to extend the lead to 14-0. Thomas lifted a sacrifice fly in his next at bat to cap the scoring for the Bears.

The SoCon Baseball Championship presented by Holston Gases continues Thursday at 7:30 p.m. with No. 2 seed Samford and No. 3 seed Wofford battling to stay in the winner’s bracket.

No. 2 Samford 5, No. 3 Wofford 2

GREENVILLE, S.C. – A three-run home run by Austin Edens lifted the second-seeded Samford Bulldogs to a 5-2 victory over the No. 3 seed Wofford Terriers on Thursday night at the Southern Conference Baseball Championship presented by Holston Gases at Fluor Field.

Samford (34-24) earns a day off and will return to the field on Saturday facing No. 5 seed Mercer at 12 p.m.

Wofford (36-22) suffered its first loss of the tournament and moves to the loser’s bracket, facing No. 1 seed UNCG in an elimination game on Friday at 2:30 p.m. Due to the anticipated weather, Friday’s games, which were originally slated for 3:30 and 7 p.m., were moved up to 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. respectively.

Josh Rich picked up the win for Samford, throwing 1 1/3 innings, allowing one run and one hit to improve to 5-5 on the season. Cody Shelton got the start for the Bulldogs, tossing 4 2/3 innings, limiting Wofford to just one unearned run on three hits. Wyatt Burns entered in relief in the seventh, surrendering just one hit while striking out four batters and picking up his 12th save of the year.

Austin Higginbotham (6-5) was tagged with the complete-game loss for Wofford, pitching all eight innings while striking out five and allowing four earned runs.

Samford combined for eight hits in the contest, committing a pair of errors while Wofford totaled two hits and one error.

It was the Terriers who got on the board first after Brett Rodriguez singled and Mack Nathanson reached base via error in the third inning, setting the table for a McClain Bradley RBI single.

Samford answered in the bottom half of the inning when Brandon Fryman smacked a lead-off double. Fryman would advance to third when Troy Dixon laid down a sacrifice bunt, later scoring on a wild pitch to even the game at 1-1.

In the bottom half of the fourth, Ryan Crockett singled up the middle, later advancing on a fielding error before Edens lifted a fly ball to right field that would give the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead.

In the top of the sixth, Wofford’s Colin Davis evened the score with one swing, launching a home run over the Green Monster in left field to knot up the score at 2-2.

Once again, Samford responded in the bottom half of the inning. Crockett and Anthony Mulrine worked their way on base before Edens came to the plate. Edens would smack a three-run home run over the left-center field wall to re-establish a Samford lead that it would not relinquish.

The Terriers threatened in the seventh when Nathanson singled and worked his way to third two batters later on a throwing error. Burns would get Samford out of trouble, inducing a ground ball to preserve the 5-2 advantage. Burns made quick work of Wofford in the ninth, getting three ground-ball outs to keep Samford in the winner’s bracket.

The SoCon Baseball Championship presented by Holston Gases continues Friday at 11 a.m. when No. 6 seed ETSU and No. 9 Western Carolina seed play in a must-win game.

May 22 (Tuesday)
SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (SDN)
(Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 1: #9 Western Carolina 6, #8 The Citadel 5             

May 23 (Wednesday)
SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (SDN)
 (Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 2: #5 Mercer 19, #5 VMI 0 (7 inn.)                         

Game 3: #9 Western Carolina 10, #1 UNCG 2
Game 4: #2 Samford 4, #7 Furman 0
Game 5: #3 Wofford 8, #6 ETSU 7 (10 inn.) 

May 24 (Thursday)
SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (SDN)
 (Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 6: #1 UNCG 11, #4 VMI 7

Game 7: #6 ETSU 5, #7 Furman 2
Game 8: #5 Mercer 15, #9 Western Carolina 0                
Game 9: #2 Samford vs. #3 Wofford                              7:30 p.m.

May 25 (Friday)
SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (SDN)
 (Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 10: #6 ETSU vs. #9 Western Carolina                  11 a.m.

Game 11: #1 UNCG vs. #3 Wofford                              2:30 p.m.

May 26 (Saturday)
SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (SDN)
Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)

Game 12: #5 Mercer vs. #2 Samford                              12 p.m.
Game 13: Winner Game 10 vs. Winner Game 11        3:30 p.m.
Game 14: Winner Game 13 vs. Loser Game 12                7 p.m. 

May 27 (Sunday)
SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (SDN)
 (Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 15: Winner Game 12 vs. Winner Game 14              12 p.m.

^Game 16: Winner Game 15 vs. Loser Game 15              40 minutes after Game 15 

^ if necessary

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