Wofford Knocks off Mercer in SoCon Tourney
The Terriers fell short of winning 3 straight Southern Conference Regular Season titles this season after being swept by Mercer in their final home regular season series. They rebounded with a sweep of the Citadel in Charleston to end the regular season, securing the 3rd seed in the conference tournament this weekend at Fluor Field in Greenville.
The Terriers started the tournament with a convincing 6-1 win over 6th-seeded UNC-Greensboro on Thursday afternoon. Matthew Marchal twirled a complete game – the first of his career, surrendering just 1 unearned run on 3 hits with 15 strikeouts and a walk. Marshall Toole was the leader at the plate for the Terriers, going a perfect 4 for 4 with a pair of RBIs and a run scored, giving him momentum which he carried over into the 2nd game of the day.
That set up the nightcap – a rematch with the #2-seeded Mercer Bears. To put it to an adjective or cliche… Well, I can’t. There are no cliches I can begin to try and come up with that would begin to adequately describe how wild the game was.
The Terriers set the pace early, jumping on Mercer’s #1 pitcher Colton Cosper with A leadoff double from Marshall Toole and 4 consecutive singles from Trey Yunger, Dixon Black, Brice Martinez, and Cameron Gill. David Wiley reached on a fielder’s choice with an E5 that extended the inning and allowed Gunnar Johnson to add another run with a sac fly to right.
Wofford sent 9 men to the plate and scored 4 runs in the 1st. Seemed like the pace was set for the Terriers to run away with it. But Mercer answered with 3 runs of their own in the bottom of the inning on a 3 run bomb from former Presbyterian College standout Eric Toth off Wofford starter Coulson Buchanan.
Wofford would go on to build a commanding lead, outscoring the Bears 9-3 over the next 3 innings to go up 13-4, giving the vibe that Wofford may run rule this one, which would have been the ideal situation to save their pitching.
Unfortunately, as is typically the case, especially in postseason college baseball, the ideal scenario did not play out.
After Coulson Buchanan surrendered 6 runs on 8 hits with 3 walks and 2 strikeouts, Todd Interdonato turned to Zac Cowan. Cowan’s final line was better in only 2 categories – he struck out 1 more and he walked 2 less. Otherwise, he surrendered 7 earned runs on 9 hits in 3 and a third innings of work.
He was taken down for Lucas Mahlstedt in the 8th inning, who had a chance at winning the game or at the very least, earn a 5 out save. Mahlstedt managed to surrender 1 run (tacked on to Cowan’s line) on 4 hits with 3 strikeouts, earning his 6th W of the season.
Marshall Toole led the way in the hits category, reaching in each of his first 3 plate appearances via a double and 2 singles, finishing 3 for 4 with an RBI, a walk, and 3 runs scored. Gunnar Johnson tallied 4 RBIs, 3 of which came on a bases-clearing double in the top of the 4th. Trey Yunger had 3 RBIs while Brice Martinez and Cameron Gill each had 2.
The Terriers held on for the win in the marathon game that broke a SoCon Tournament record for most doubles between 2 teams combined (11 of them), and tied the record for most hits between 2 teams combined in a single SoCon Tournament game (39) 16-14, setting up a battle with Samford at 4:00 PM on Friday afternoon with a berth in the tournament championship on the line.