May 1, 2016

Box Score |   

Cullowhee, N.C. - Mercer plated single runs in each of the first four frames before breaking open a two-run contest with a four-run top of the eighth inning, handing Western Carolina a 9-2 loss Sunday afternoon in the series rubber match at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium.

The Bears took the final two games of the series to improve to 12-6 in league play, matching WCU in a tie for second-place in the conference behind first-place UNCG. Mercer garners the tie-breaker by virtue of the series win.

Trailing 4-1, WCU senior Garrett Brown led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a solo home run over the fence in left field to claw the Catamounts back to within two, 4-2. But Mercer was able to limit the home squad to that one run, getting it back in the top of the seventh before pulling away with the four-run eighth for the seven-run victory.

Freshman Andrew Bullock collected a career-best three singles, leading the Catamounts with a 3-for-4 outing at the plate. Brown tallied a single to go along with his third home run of the season in a 2-for-5 showing as the only other WCU batter with multiple hits. Redshirt junior Bryson Bowman reached twice with a pair of walks, recording the only other Catamount score.

Senior Danny Bermudez drove home WCU's first run in the fourth inning on a RBI single up the middle that made it 4-1 after four frames. Sophomore Caleb Robinson doubled in a 1-for-4 performance with Matt Smith driving a single through the right side and Reece Strong delivering a base knock late to account for WCU's nine hits.

Making his second start of the weekend after being hit with a hard-hit ground ball on Friday, sophomore LHP Brendan Nail (2-6) suffered the loss for the Catamounts. The Greensboro, N.C., native worked around a pair of walks with three strikeouts, surrendering four runs -- two earned -- on five hits in three and a third innings. Senior Colton Davis struck out four in 3.2 innings of work, allowing a run on four hits out of the bullpen -- the first of six different relievers to toe the rubber for the Purple & Gold.

Mercer starter Kevin Coulter (6-2) secured his second victory of the weekend, tossing five and a third innings on Sunday afternoon. Coulter slowed the WCU offense, limited WCU to two runs on just six hits while issuing two walks. Conard Broom pitched 2.2 innings of one-hit, shutout relief with Austin Cox working around a pair of hits with a strikeout to close the game.

The middle of Mercer's did most of the damage on Sunday with four hitters collecting multi-hit games. Blaise Lezynski finished 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles while Kyle Lewis -- who also drew two walks -- and Ryan Hagan posted 2-for-4 outings. Hagan drove in a pair of runs in the win. Catcher Charlie Madden collected a pair of hits in a 2-for-5 performance.

Western Carolina (22-21, 12-6 SoCon) breaks for its final exams before returning to league action May 6-8 in Greenville, S.C., against the Furman Paladins.