GREENVILLE, N.C. – Mercer scored four runs in the seventh inning and added an insurance run in the ninth lifting them to a doubleheader sweep over No. 8 East Carolina, 7-5, Friday night at Lewis Field inside Clark-LeClair Stadium. With the win the Bears improve to 16-4 on the season, while the Pirates fall to 13-6.
Zach Graveno (2-0) picked up the win in relief allowing one run (earned) on one hit in 1.2 innings of work, while Kevin Coulter notched his first save of the season following 1.1 scoreless frames. Starter Austin Cox surrendered four runs (all earned) on seven hits with six strikeouts in 5.2 frames. Andrew Kane (0.0 IP, 1 H) and Christian Vann (0.1 IP, 0 R) were also used out of the bullpen.
Joe Ingle (3-1) took the loss after giving up three runs (all earned) on three hits with a walk and two strikeouts in just two-thirds of an inning. Starter Trey Benton went six full frames allowing three runs (all earned) on five hits with a walk and eight punch outs. Tyler Smith (0.1 IP, 1 H), West Covington (1.0 IP, 1 R) and Davis Kirkpatrick (1.0 IP, 1 H) closed out the game in relief.
A trio of Bears in Alex Crotty, Danny Edgeworth and Charlie Madden each collected two hits, while Alex Hanson drove in a team-best two RBI.
Turner Brown (three) and Eric Tyler (two) tallied multiple hits, while Spencer Brickhouse (team-leading sixth) and Brown each belted home runs on the night. Bryce Harman drove in a pair of runs – the first of the season for the senior.
Game 2 What Happened:
Trailing 4-3 going to the seventh inning, Mercer put up a four-spot taking a 6-4 lead – its second of the contest. Hunter Bening doubled down the right field line plating Jackson Ware for the Bears first run of the stanza. Two batters later Hanson singled to right field pushing across Edgeworth and Bening, before he came home on Hagan’s two-base hit to right center capping the frame a 6-4.
Mercer jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning on Edgeworth’s RBI double down the left field line that scored JT Thomas from second after he was hit by a pitch and moved to second on Jackson Ware’s ground out.
ECU scored a pair of runs in the home half of the second for a 2-1 lead. Brickhouse homered for the second-straight game hitting a 3-2 offering from Cox off the scoreboard. Tyler kept the inning going with a single to left center and took second on a fielding error by Matt Meeder. After a double steal, Wes Phillips plated Tyler with an infield single deep in the hole at short.
Crotty’s RBI single in the top of the fifth tied the game at two-all. Edgeworth laced his second double of the evening and took third on Bening’s sac bunt before crossing home on Crotty’s base knock to right field.
Harman’s two-RBI single in the bottom of the sixth gave ECU its second lead of the night at 4-2. Brown and Travis Watkins laced consecutive singles before Brown tagged up going to third on Luke Bolka’s long fly ball to center. Harman stroked a base hit to left center off Kane for his first RBI of the season.
ECU would score in the bottom of the seventh on Brown’s solo shot down the right field line pulling the Pirates within one, 6-5. But a late run in the top of the ninth Madden’s single to left pushed across Trey Pruitt making it a 7-5 ball game.
Game 1 What Happened:
JT Thomas hit a pair of home runs and drove in six lifting Mercer to a 10-7 win over No. 8 East Carolina in Game 1 of the Friday day-night doubleheader.
With the scored tied at seven-all going to the ninth inning, Thomas hit the second of his two homers (two-run), which highlighted the Bears three-run frame. Madden walked with before Thomas deposited a first pitch offering from Matt Bridges over the left field wall. Jackson Ware followed with a double to right field and Edgeworth singled him home with a shot through the left side.
Robert Broom (2-1) picked up the win in relief tossing 1.2 scoreless innings with a pair of strikeouts. Starter Ryan Askew was touched for seven runs (six earned) on 12 hits with a walk and three strikeouts in five innings. Vann (1.1 IP, 2 BB, 1 K) and Nick Spear (1.0 IP, 2 Hs, 2 Ks) also appeared out of the bullpen.
Bridges (0-1) took the loss giving up three runs (all earned) on two hits with a pair of walks in two innings. Starter Jake Agnos allowed four runs (all earned) on five hits with a walk and five punch outs in 5.2 innings. Sam Lanier (1.0 IP, 3 Rs, 4 BBs, 1 K) and Ryan Ross (0.1 IP, 2 Hs) pitched in relief.
In a see-saw battle, both teams exchanged blows as there were four ties and five lead changes in the contest. ECU jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first thanks to RBI singles by Travis Watkins and Eric Tyler.
Mercer tied the game at two-all in the top of the second on Thomas’ two-run shot to left field that plated Madden in front of him, who singled through the left side. The Bears added a run in the top of the fourth on Edgeworth’s RBI ground out that plated Madden.
The Pirates knotted the game at three in the home half of the fourth when T.J. Riles scored on a fielding error by the Bears Meeder. Riles doubled to get things going and took third on an Askew wild pitch before coming home on the shortstop miscue.
Brickhouse’s opposite field two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth game ECU a 5-3 advantage. Turner Brown doubled to right field and two batters later came home with Brickhouse on his fifth homer of the season.
Both teams exchanged a pair of runs in the sixth with ECU re-taking the lead at 7-5. Bening had a two-RBI infield single that hit off the first base bag plating Thomas and Ware. Charlie Yorgen’s bases loaded hit by pitch scored the first run for ECU, while Brown’s fielder’s choice drove in Bryce Harman.
Thomas, who was 4-for-4 with six RBI, doubled home a pair of runs in the top of the seventh with a shot to left field pushing across Alex Hanson and Madden – both who walked in the stanza
ECU and Mercer will conclude the three-game series on Sunday, March 19 with a 1 p.m. (ET) scheduled start.