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Samford tops Mercer at SoCon Baseball Championship
Courtesy: Southern Conference
Release: 05/26/2018
Samford's Brooks Carlson had three RBIs in the win
Courtesy: Southern Conference

GREENVILLE, S.C. – No. 2 seed Samford scored five runs in the fifth inning before an out was recorded to take a lead it would not relinquish in a 10-3 win over No. 5 seed Mercer on Saturday at the Southern Conference Baseball Championship presented by Holston Gases at Fluor Field.

With the win, Samford (35-24) reaches Sunday’s title contest for the fifth time in the last eight seasons. The Bulldogs won the tournament in 2012, although that championship was later vacated.

Mercer (37-21) drops into the loser’s bracket and will face either No. 1 seed UNCG or No. 9 seed Western Carolina at 7 p.m. Saturday with a trip to Sunday’s title game on the line. The Bears will be trying to reach the title game for the third time in four seasons since joining the league.

Trailing 2-1 heading into the fifth, Samford took advantage of three hit batters, an error, a walk and a pair of singles to turn the tide. After a hit batter, an error and a walk loaded the bases, Brooks Carlson and Ayrton Shafer were hit by pitches in consecutive at bats to put the Bulldogs on top. Connor Burns followed with an RBI single and Anthony Mulrine hit a two-run single up the middle to make it a 6-2 affair.

Mercer got a run back in the bottom half on Le Bassett’s sacrifice fly, but the Bulldogs got Carlson’s two-run double in the sixth and plated two more runs in the seventh to blow the game open.

Two-time first-team All-SoCon reliever Robert Broom – the league leader with a 1.41 ERA entering the contest – got the first start of his career for the Bears and pitched 4-plus innings. Broom was charged with three runs (two earned) on three hits, two walks and a hit batter. Seven of his 12 outs recorded came via strikeout.

One of the hits Broom (10-4) allowed was a 401-foot solo home run to right center by Samford’s Troy Dixon in the third inning, which was the first run allowed by Mercer in the tournament. The Bears had outscored their first two opponents 34-0 in a pair of mercy-rule wins.

Mercer took its only lead of the contest on the fourth, as Jackson Ware led off with a single up the middle and Bassett followed with a home run over the Green Monster in left field to make it 2-1.

Samford right-hander Josh Rich (6-5) earned the win with 5 2/3 innings of relief, allowing one unearned run on two hits and walks. He struck out nine batters, including a stretch of seven out of nine hitters from the sixth through the eighth innings, and got Brandon Michie swinging to end the contest.

Mulrine went 3-for-5 with a pair of RBIs to lead the Bulldogs, while Dixon and Carlson had two hits apiece. Samford totaled 11 hits as a team.

Eight different batters accounted for Mercer’s eight hits, with Bassett driving in all three runs.

The SoCon Baseball Championship presented by Holston Gases continues Saturday at 3:30 p.m. with No. 9 seed Western Carolina facing No. 1 seed UNCG in an elimination game. The winner moves on to face Mercer at 7 p.m.

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 (7 inn.)                
Game 9: #2 Samford 5, #3 Wofford 2                             

May 25 (Friday)
SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (SDN)
 (Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 10: #9 Western Carolina 11, #6 ETSU 1                

Game 11: #1 UNCG 15, #3 Wofford 7

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

Game 12: #2 Samford 10, #5 Mercer 3
Game 13: #9 Western Carolina vs. #1 UNCG                    3:30 p.m.
Game 14: Winner Game 13 vs. #5 Mercer                        7 p.m.

May 27 (Sunday)
SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (SDN)
 (Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 15: #3 Samford 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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