SoConSports.com - Official Web Site of The Southern Conference
Friday SoCon baseball championship roundup
Courtesy: Southern Conference
Release: 05/24/2019
ETSU's Cullen Smith
Courtesy: Southern Conference

No. 3 UNCG 5, No. 4 Mercer 9

GREENVILLE, S.C. – Fourth-seeded Mercer opened up an early lead and slugged its way past No. 3 seed UNC Greensboro 9-5 in an elimination game at the Southern Conference Baseball Championship presented by Holston Gases at Fluor Field on Friday.

The Bears (31-27) advance to Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. game against either No. 5 seed Furman or No. 6 seed ETSU, who face off in Friday’s second game. UNCG’s season comes to an end at 34-20.

Mercer counted three doubles and two home runs among its 11 hits on the afternoon.

Kel Johnson hit the first long ball of the game, taking one out to left to give Mercer a 1-0 lead after an inning of play. The Bears tacked on four more in the third, starting with Bill Knight’s RBI double. An RJ Yeager single knocked UNCG starter Jake Mayhew from the game, and Johnson greeted Corey Jackson with an RBI single to score Knight.

Angelo DiSpigna would add a sacrifice fly after Collin Price’s single, which was Mercer’s fifth straight hit to lead off the inning. A hit batter to load the bases would send the Spartans back to the bullpen for their third pitcher of the frame, and one out later, Kyle Dockus drew a bases-loaded walk to make it 5-0.

The Spartans would get on the board in the fourth thanks to an RBI double by Austin Embler and a run-scoring single by Josh Madole, but Mercer got back both runs back in the fifth, with Jordan Ammons stroking an RBI double and Dockus following with an RBI single. Both runs were unearned after the first batter of the inning reached on an error.

Mercer added a run in the seventh when Dockus scored from third on a wild pitch to make it 8-2, but UNCG made it interesting in the bottom half with homers from Ryan Caveness and Zack Budzik. With Zach Kuchmaner on via a walk, Caveness stroked a ball to dead center that hit the batter’s eye for what appeared to be an RBI double. After a video review, the ball was ruled to have hit the screen above the wall and the call was changed to a home run.

One out later, Budzik hit a line drive homer of his own over the Green Monster in left to make it 8-5.

The comeback stalled there, however, and Mercer’s Alex Crotty hit a solo home run down the left-field line in the top of the ninth for the final margin. The shot was the first homer allowed this season by SoCon Pitcher of the Year Chad Sykes, who entered in the ninth.

The Spartans put runners on first and second with one out in the bottom half, but Bear reliever Nick Spear got a fly out and a fielder’s choice to close out his eighth save of the season.

Knight, Johnson and Price had two-hit games for Mercer, while Greg Hardison, Caleb Webster, Madole and Caveness did so for UNCG.

Tanner Hall improved to 8-5 on the season, allowing five runs on 10 hits in 7 innings of work. Mayhew (3-2) suffered the loss, as he was charged with four runs on five hits in 2-plus innings.

No. 5 Furman 5, No. 6 ETSU 7 

GREENVILLE, S.C. – Sixth-seeded ETSU battled back from a 3-0 deficit to beat fifth-seeded Furman, 7-5, in an elimination game at the Southern Conference Baseball Championship presented by Holston Gases at Fluor Field on Friday.

 The Bucs (34-20) advance to Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. game against No. 4 seed Mercer. Furman’s season comes to an end at 26-31.

Furman jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first off a Trent Alley double to left center and a Dax Roper single to left field. The third inning saw Logan Taplett hit a sacrifice fly to center to score David Webel who had reached base after he doubled to right center and advanced to third off a wild pitch by ETSU starter Daniel Sweeney.

Cullen Smith got the Bucs on the board in the top of the sixth, sending a sac fly out to left field deep enough to for Cade Gilbert to tag home and cut the Paladins’ lead to two. The Paladins countered the Bucs’ run with two of their own later that inning. Jared Mihalik doubled down the left-field line to score Jabari Richards and John Michael Boswell to put them up 5-1.

ETSU got its rally going in the seventh, driving in two runs off two hits and an error. With one out, Jake Lyle singled down the left-field line. Colby Emmertz would then reach first base on a fielding error and Lyle advanced to second before Ethan Shelton doubled to send Lyle home and Emmertz to third. A wild pitch by Jordan Beatson advanced Shelton and scored Emmertz to bring the Bucs to within two. They would put another run on the board in the top of the eighth on a balk with runners at the corners to pull within one.

An Emmertz single to center field started off a big ninth inning for the Bucs. Ethan Shelton would then hit a sacrifice bunt to advance Ethan Cady, who had come in to pitch run for Emmertz. Gilbert singled to right field to advance Cady to third before Markell Graham was hit by a pitch. The next batter,  Smith, reached base on a fielding error to score Gilbert and Cady. After a Smith stolen base and Furman pitcher Rob Hughes intentionally walking Noah Hill, Jackson Greer reached base on a fielder’s choice to third to bring home Graham to put the Bucs up 7-5.

Both teams recorded seven hits with ETSU stranding seven on base and Furman stranding six.

ETSU’s Nathaniel Tate (4-0) got the win, coming in for 2 2/3 innings of relief and recording one strikeout. Furman’s Hughes suffered the loss and saw his season end with a 5-2 record.

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: #1 Samford vs. #2 Wofford                              12 p.m.

Game 13: #4 Mercer vs. #6 ETSU                                   3:30 p.m.
Game 14: Winner Game 13 vs. Loser Game 12                7 p.m. 

 

May 26 (Sunday)
SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (ESPN+)
 (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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