#9 VMI Falls to Top-Seeded Mercer, 11-6
Courtesy: SportsPhotoGuy.com for VMI
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GREENVILLE, S.C. - The top-seeded Mercer Bears jumped out to a 7-1 lead on the way to an 11-6 win over the ninth-seeded VMI Keydets, in game three of the SoCon Baseball Championship presented by Holston Gases at Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C.

VMI (23-33) took an early 1-0 lead, but Mercer (39-15) jumped on Keydet starter Matt Eagle quickly in the bottom of the first. The Bears scored five runs before an out was recorded, sparked by a Charlie Madden grand slam, and went on to notch two more in the second inning. VMI got back within three runs at 7-4, but Mercer was able to pull back away on the way to the win.

Offensively, Tyler Tharp had a three-hit game to lead VMI and break the school record for total bases in a single season. Tharp broke Cory Spangenberg's 140-total base mark that had been sit in 2010.

Madden and JT Thomas had three hits and four RBI apiece to lead the top-seeded Bears.

VMI scored in the first, when Tharp drove in Matt Pita with a RBI single to make it 1-0. Mercer scored the next seven runs, however, and took a 7-1 to the third, when VMI started to peck away.

Peyton Maddox plated a run in that frame with a RBI double, his 16th of the year, and in the fourth, Matt Dunlevy hit a two-run homer to make it 7-4. One out after Dunlevy's homer, Michael Diodato walked. That put the tying run in the on-deck circle, but Jacob Jaye bounced into a double-play to end the inning.

The Bears then added on in the fifth, with a solo homer by Ryan Hagan and Thomas' RBI double, and tacked on another in the sixth to increase the margin to 10-4. The Keydets scored two runs in the eighth, but Mercer closer Nick Spear entered and struck out three of VMI's final five hitters to preserve the win.

An eighth-inning sacrifice fly by the Bears' Jackson Ware capped the scoring.

On the mound, Eagle (4-4) took the loss after allowing seven of Mercer's 11 runs. He walked two and gave up six hits in 1 1/3 innings. Austin Cox (4-2) pitched five innings and allowed four runs in a winning effort.

VMI and fifth-seeded Wofford will play an elimination game at 12:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon.

#1 Mercer 11, #9 VMI 6 (May 24, 2017 at Greenville, S.C.)
VMI 101 200 020 - 6 9 1 (23-33)
MER 520 021 01X - 11 12 2 (39-15)
VMI - Eagle; Staats (2); Geary (6); Kent (7); Bennett (8) and Maddox.
MER - Cox; Broom (6); Graveno (8); Spear (8) and Madden.
W - Cox (4-2) L - Eagle (4-4)
HR VMI - Dunlevy (3)
HR MER - Hagan (8); Madden (17)
T - 3:33 A - 205
Game Three - SoCon Baseball Championship