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Mercer sweeps Wofford to win SoCon title
Courtesy: Southern Conference
Release: 05/26/2019
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No. 4 Mercer 9, No. 2 Wofford 5 (Game 16)

GREENVILLE, S.C. – No. 4 seed Mercer jumped out an early 3-1 lead and never looked back to win the second game of the day 9-5 over No. 2 seed Wofford, winning the Southern Conference Baseball Championship presented by Holston Gases at Fluor Field on Sunday. The title-game appearance was the Bears’ fourth in the last five seasons and the title was their first since 2015.

Mercer (35-27) earned the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals. Regional hosts will be announced Sunday at 8:30 p.m. on NCAA.com, with regional pairing announcements coming Monday at noon Eastern on ESPNU.

The Bears’ Trevor Austin earned the Walt Nadzak Most Outstanding Player award, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs and one run scored in the game-two win. In the first game of the day, Austin went 3-for-5 with one RBI and two runs scored. Mercer had four all-tournament members in Jackson Kelley (starting pitcher), Alex Crotty (catcher), Austin (third baseman) and Collin Price (outfielder).

Mercer’s Andrew Kane earned the Pinnacle Award, which is given to the student-athlete with the highest GPA from the championship team.

Wofford has its season end at 36-25. The Terriers tallied five runs on 10 hits from seven different batters. Wofford’s Reece Maniscalco (relief pitcher) and Mike Brown (outfield) were named to the all-tournament team.  

Mercer’s Taylor Lobus (2-0) picked up the win, entering the game in the second inning and giving up just one run in 2 2/3. Wofford’s Jake Hershman saw his season end with 2-3 record, pitching one inning and striking out one batter.

Wofford’s Brett Rodriguez put the Terriers ahead 1-0 in the first inning when he homered to left field. In the bottom of the second, RJ Yeager grounded out to third with runners on the corners to score Crotty with the first run of the inning for the Bears. Kyle Dockus doubled to left center to drive in the second run of the inning and Austin would later single up the middle to score Dockus and put the Bears up 3-1 heading into the third.

The Bear would tack on another in the third on a Wofford error and added two more in the fourth on an Austin groundout and a Kel Johnson double to put them up 6-1 heading into the fifth inning.

The Terriers attempted a comeback in the sixth after scoring one in the fifth. A John Dempsey single to left field, a Colin Davis single to right center, and Andrew Orzel reaching first on a fielder’s choice loaded the bases for Zach Hester to fly out to left field and score Dempsey. Later in the inning, Rodriguez would single to center field to score Orzel and Davis to bring the Terriers to within one.

Mercer would tack on three more in the bottom of the eighth to stretch its lead to four and give the Bears their second SoCon championship title.

No. 4 Mercer 12, No. 2 Wofford 8 (Game 15)

GREENVILLE, S.C. – Mercer jumped out to an 8-2 lead after three innings and hung on for a 12-8 win over No. 2 seed Wofford on Sunday at the Southern Conference Baseball Championship presented by Holston Gases at Fluor Field, handing the Terriers their first loss of the tournament and forcing a winner-take-all title tilt later in the afternoon.

The fourth-seeded Bears (34-27) and the Terriers (36-24) will square off again at 4:40 p.m. for the SoCon title and the league’s automatic berth to the NCAA Regionals.

Kel Johnson, Kyle Dockus and Trevor Austin had three hits apiece as part of Mercer’s 14-hit attack. Wofford also tallied 14 safeties, led by Andrew Orzel’s 4-for-4 effort.

The Bears scored three times in the first, getting an RBI single from Angelo DiSpigna and a two-run double from Alex Crotty, but Wofford answered with two in the bottom half when two runs scored on Lawson Hill’s single up the middle and an error in the outfield.

Mercer added a run in the second on Austin’s RBI groundout before blowing it open with a four-run third in which Jordan Ammons had a two-run double and Dockus drove in a run with a single.

Wofford got a run back in the fourth on Orzel’s solo homer to left, but Mercer tacked on two runs each in the sixth and seventh innings to make it 12-3, taking advantage of a pair of errors in the sixth before getting an RJ Yeager sacrifice fly and a Johnson RBI single in the seventh.

The Terriers mounted a comeback in the bottom half of the frame, plating four to get back within striking distance. Wofford pounded out five hits in the inning, getting a run-scoring single from Josh Congdon, an RBI double from Brett Rodriguez and a two-run double from John Dempsey to make it 12-7.

The comeback continued into the eighth, as Mike Brown stroked a two-out RBI single up the middle to make it 12-8, but that was it for the Terriers, who went 1-2-3 in the ninth.

Mercer starter Sawyer Gipson-Long (8-3) collected the win after allowing seven runs, five earned, on 11 hits in 7 innings, striking out eight without issuing a walk.

Wofford starter Austin Higginbotham (9-4) took the loss after allowing eight earned runs on eight hits and two walks in 2 innings of work.

Mercer, in the title game for the fourth time in the last five seasons, is seeking its first SoCon tournament title since 2015, while Wofford, in the title bout for just the second time in school history, is seeking its first title since 2007.

All-Tournament Team
SP – Jackson Kelley, Mercer
SP – Jesse McCord, Samford
RP – Reece Maniscalco, Wofford
C – Alex Crotty, Mercer
1B – Sonny DiChiara, Samford
2B – Will Prater, Western Carolina
SS – Branden Fryman, Samford
3B – Trevor Austin, Mercer
OF – Collin Price, Mercer
OF – Jordan Fucci, Samford
OF – Mike Brown, Wofford
DH – John Michael Boswell, Furman

Walt Nadzak Most Outstanding Player
Trevor Austin, Mercer, Fr., 3B

Pinnacle Award (highest GPA on championship-winning team)
Andrew Kane, Mercer, Jr., RHP

 

May 21 (Tuesday)
SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (SDN)
 (Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 1: #8 Western Carolina 7, #9 The Citadel 3

May 22 (Wednesday)
SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (SDN)
 (Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 2: #1 Samford 5, #8 Western Carolina 4 (10 innings)
Game 3: #4 Mercer 11, #5 Furman 2
Game 4: #6 ETSU 4, #3 UNCG 2
Game 5: #2 Wofford 12, #7 VMI 7

May 23 (Thursday)
SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (SDN)
 (Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 6: #5 Furman 9, #8 Western Carolina 7

Game 7: #3 UNCG 4, #7 VMI 2
Game 8: #1 Samford 11, #4 Mercer 0
Game 9: #2 Wofford 2, #6 ETSU 1 

May 24 (Friday)
SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (SDN)
 (Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 10: #4 Mercer 9, #3 UNCG 5

Game 11: #6 ETSU 7, #5 Furman 5

May 25 (Saturday)
SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (SDN)
 (Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 12: #2 Wofford 5, #1 Samford 2

Game 13: #4 Mercer 11, #6 ETSU 7
Game 14: #4 Mercer 4, #1 Samford 3

May 26 (Sunday)
SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (ESPN+)
 (Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 15: #4 Mercer 12, #2 Wofford 8
Game 16: #4 Mercer 9, #2 Wofford 5 

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