Late Homers Lift Mercer Over USC-Upstate, 10-7

Senior Phillip Morgan went 3-for-4 with a double and homer and three RBIs against Mercer on Sunday.
Senior Phillip Morgan went 3-for-4 with a double and homer and three RBIs against Mercer on Sunday.

FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – An eighth inning solo shot from Michael Langley and a two-run ninth-inning homer from Steven Karwatt helped lift Mercer to a rubber game 10-7 win over the USC Upstate baseball team after Upstate fought back from a 5-1 deficit to tie the game at seven in the bottom of the seventh.

Langley’s homer to left field broke the 7-7 tie in the eighth on the first pitch of the inning and Karrwatt homered after a double by Casey Stuart in the ninth to put the game out of reach. The Spartans (7-13 overall, 2-7 A-Sun) got one runner on in the ninth, but couldn’t bring the tying run to the plate. The Spartans did have a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth as two runners reached but a lineout ended the inning.

The Spartans got a run in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead, as junior Jimmy Tanner (Fayetteville, Ga./Starr’s Mill) singled under the third baseman’s glove with two outs and senior Phillip Morgan (Campobello, S.C./Spartanburg Methodist) drove him in with a double that rolled all the way to the center field wall. Mercer took a 5-1 lead thanks to five runs in the second on six hits.

Upstate got two unearned runs back in the second as junior Brian Dempsey (Montverde, Fla./East Ridge) reached on an error and senior Tommy Shovlin (Merritt Island, Fla./Daytona Beach C.C.) had an infield single off the third baseman’s chest. After a flyout, Dempsey stole third and scored on a balk. After a grounder moved Shovlin to third, senior Eric Guillen (Thousand Oaks, Calif./Thousand Oaks) drilled a double into left field to score Shovlin.

A solo homer by Jacob Tanis in the third made it 6-3 in favor of the Bears (7-9 overall, 3-3 A-Sun), but Upstate answered with a run of its own in the bottom of the inning as junior Jacob Breen (Marietta, Ga./Birmingham Southern) singled to right to lead off. He took second on a wild pitch and scored on a bouncer through the right side by Shovlin.

The Spartans tied the game at six in the fourth, as Guillen singled to right to lead off. He took second on a wild pitch and third on a groundout before Tanner was hit by a pitch. With runners on first and third, a wild pitch moved each up a base and Morgan delivered a single into left field to score Tanner and tie the game at six.

The Bears got an unearned run in the top of the sixth, with a double by Nick DiMauro, an error and a sac fly bringing in the run. The Spartans answered in the bottom of the seventh, as Morgan hit a solo homer to left center field for his first of the year, tying the game at seven and setting up the finish.

Upstate was led by Morgan, who finished 3-for-5 with a homer, a double, a run and three RBIs. Both Guillen and Shovlin added two hits, a run and an RBI.

Stuart and Karwatt led the Bears with three hits and two runs a piece, while DiMauro, Langley, Tanis and Thomas Carroll all each added two hits.

Michael Shaw (1-1) earned the win in relief, tossing 3 2/3 innings, allowing one hit, a walk and one run. His only mistake was the homer to Morgan. J.T. Odom, appearing in his third game in as many days, pitched two innings for the save, walking one and striking out two.

Junior Barrett Stover (Durham, N.C./Lenoir C.C.) (1-2) took the loss, pitching two innings, allowing four hits and three runs. He struck out one.

Freshman Adam Waters (Denver, N.C./Hopewell) pitched well and let the Spartans back into the game by tossing five innings from the second to the seventh, allowing five hits and one unearned run. He walked one and struck out three, dropping his season ERA to 2.41.

Upstate will get back in action on Tuesday when it travels to Blacksburg, Va., for a non-conference game with the ACC’s Virginia Tech. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.