GREENVILLE, S.C. – Both teams got on the board early but it was No. 4 Mercer who would explode later in the game to come away with the 11-2 victory over No. 5 Furman, in Wednesday’s second game of the Southern Conference Baseball Championship presented by Holston Gases at Fluor Field.
Mercer (30-26) will face No. 1 Samford on Thursday at 4 p.m. Furman (25-30) falls to the loser’s side of the bracket and will face No. 8 Western Carolina on Thursday at 9 a.m.
The Paladins’ Trent Alley got things started in the first, doubling to left center to score Dax Roper to put Furman up by one. The Bears’ Collin Price evened up the score in the bottom of the first with a single to center field to score Kel Johnson. They would then tack on one more in the bottom of the second before exploding in the third inning.
RJ Yeager and Johnson started off the inning by each reaching base on a fielding error, putting runners at first and second. Price put down a sacrifice bunt to advance both runners and Angelo DiSpigna was intentionally walked to load the bases. Alex Crotty struck out to bring up Ammons, who walked, bringing Yeager across the plate and loading the bases for Bill Knight. Knight would then smack a grand slam to left center to bring the score to 6-1, Mercer.
The Paladins would only score one more run the rest of the game, when Logan Taplett singled to left center, scoring Alley in the top of the fourth. The Bears plated four more over the next five innings.
Mercer starter Sawyer Long-Gipson (7-3) earned the win, going 6 innings and striking out eight. Furman’s John Michael Bertrand (4-6) was credited with the loss.
The SoCon Baseball Championship presented by Holston Gases continues with two more games to be played on Wednesday.