VMI loses SoCon Tournament opener, faces UNCG in elimination game
The fifth-seeded Mercer Bears broke open a close game with nine runs in the middle innings on the way to a 19-0, seven-inning victory over the fourth-seeded VMI Keydets Wednesday morning in game two of the 2018 SoCon Baseball Championship, presented by Holston Gases and contested at Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C.
Mercer (36-20) had scratched across three early runs against VMI (26-26) ace Josh Winder, and put Winder in a jam again in the fourth. He was one out away from escaping, but Brandon Michie hit a two-run homer off the video board in right-center to make it 5-0. One batter later, Winder was removed, and Mercer scratched across an additional run in the frame. The Bears then went on to score six runs in the sixth and seven more in the seventh to account for the final margin.
In the contest, Mercer starter Austin Cox (7-3) was the winner, as he held the Keydets to two hits over six shutout innings. Cox struck out 10 and walked three. Winder (5-6) was charged with six runs in 3 2/3 frames and took the loss.
Offensively, Jackson Ware and Alex Hanson had five hits apiece for Mercer, with Ware collecting just the fourth 5-for-5 performance in tournament history. The Keydets’ three hits came from three different players.
VMI baseball returns to action Thursday, taking on #1 seed UNCG, which lost on Wednesday to #9 seed Western Carolina, 10-2.