DELAND, Fla. – A 10th-inning, RBI double by Derek Wiley lifted Belmont to a 4-3 win over Mercer in second-round action at Stetson on Thursday evening in the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament. The Bruins are now the lone undefeated team in the double-elimination tournament.
Mercer tied up the contest in dramatic fashion with a two-out rally in the bottom of the ninth frame. Belmont closer Chris Manning retired the first two batters, but a pinch-hit double by Andrew Einert started things. John Dortch advanced pinch runner Richard Bentley to third with an infield single. Another pinch hitter, John Daugherty, then delivered a huge run-scoring single to knot the score at 3, but Wiley’s base knock secured the Bruins’ win. Manning (3-0) came back to earn the win with a scoreless 10th inning.
Each squad’s left-handed starter was sharp in the early going as Mercer southpaw Blake Quarles limited Belmont to no runs and four hits through six innings while Bruins’ lefty Carlos Testa tossed shutout, one-hit ball in the first five frames.
Quarles finished his outing allowing one run on four hits in six innings of work. The crafty southpaw had some of his best stuff this season striking out four and issuing four free passes.
Testa was impressive as well giving up two runs on four hits in six innings while fanning a pair and walking one batter.
Following an uneventful opening five innings, the Bears (33-24) finally cracked the scoreboard in the sixth inning taking a brief two-run lead. Matt Crawford notched a one-out double and Eric Renfroe followed with a bloop-single to center. Josh Thompson then delivered a sacrifice fly to score Crawford and Mike Armstrong garnered his team-high 19th two-out RBI with a double to deep left field.
Belmont (33-24) answered back in the seventh taking a 3-2 lead. Quarles walked Brandon McCall to lead off the frame and A-Sun saves leader Cory Gearrin entered the game for Mercer. The second batter he faced, Packy Elkins, recorded an infield single and Wilson Tucker followed with his 11th homer this season. The three-run shot gave the Bruins their first lead of the game.
Gearrin (4-3) battled back after surrendering Tucker’s three-run blast, but was dealt the loss. It was the first home run the junior has given up all season.
Mercer will take on regular-season champion and host Stetson this morning at 11 a.m.