Wilson Tucker hit an enormous three-run homerun to give Belmont its first lead of the game, and Derek Wiley drove in the winning run in the 10th, as Belmont (33-24) defeated Mercer 4-3 in 10 innings to become the only undefeated team remaining in the Atlantic Sun Championship Tournament.
Mercer collected its second, third and fourth hits of the game in the sixth inning, and took a 2-0 lead to break the scoreless tie. Belmont then came from behind in the next half inning, just as they did in Wednesday’s win against Jacksonville.
Brandon McCall led off with a walk, and Mercer pulled starter Blake Quarles in favor of first team all-conference reliever Cory Gearrin. Matt Reynolds then reached on a fielder’s choice and Packy Elkins hit an infield single to the shortstop, to bring Wilson Tucker to the plate.
Belmont’s career homerun leader, Tucker came through with perhaps the biggest homerun in his career. While being cheered on by a raucous Bruin dugout, he crushed a ball out of the park in left field to give Belmont a 3-2 lead in the seventh. The blast was just the first extra-base hit allowed by Gearrin in over 40 innings this season.
Ben Petsch led off the 10th inning with a walk, and stole second before scoring on Derek Wiley’s double to the right field corner, to allow the Bruins to regain a 4-3 lead. The Bears went down in order in the bottom of the frame as Belmont held on for the win.
Carlo Testa made the start for Belmont, and allowed just one hit through five innings, and left the game after six innings. Testa allowed two runs on four hits with a walk. He struck out two batters before exiting the game.
Ben Meador walked one and struck out three over two hitless innings to preserve a 3-2 lead in the seventh and eighth innings. Meador struck out Josh Thompson and Mike Armstrong to end the eighth inning.
Chris Manning pitched the ninth and 10th innings for the Bruins to move to 3-0 on the season. Manning allowed one run on three hits in the ninth inning, but retired the side in order in the 10th and ended the game with a dramatic strikeout of cleanup hitter Mike Armstrong.
Belmont will play the winner of Thursday’s elimination game between Mercer and Stetson at 6 p.m. central time. If Belmont wins the game, the team will advance to the championship game on Saturday.