Softball: Bears Oust Host USC Upstate to Advance In A-Sun Tourney The No. 5 Mercer softball team rebounded after a tough 4-1 loss to Jacksonville earlier in the day to claw out a 3-2 victory over No. 3 USC Upstate and stay alive in the Atlantic Sun Championship.
The No. 5 Mercer softball team rebounded after a tough 4-1 loss to No. 1 Jacksonville earlier in the day to claw out a 3-2 victory over No. 3 USC Upstate and stay alive in the Atlantic Sun Championship on Thursday.
By virtue of the victory, Mercer will now play the team it beat yesterday in Campbell. The Camels defeated Kennesaw St. in the first game of the day to advance in the loser's bracket of the tournament. Mercer is now 2-1 in the tournament and still must win two games tomorrow in order to secure a spot in the championship game.
Highlighting the win against the Spartans was the reemergence of senior pitcher Jenni Holtz. Holtz, for the third time in as many games, came in relief of starter Kari Chambers, and against the Spartans threw six nearly perfect innings, giving up just one hit.
Holtz, who had a slightly out-of-character regular season, has stepped up big for the Bears in the conference tournament keeping a 0.98 ERA with two wins and 12 strikeouts.
Mercer again got out to an early lead in the top of the second when senior Allison Jones came in to pinch hit for Stephanie Canara. Jones had runners on first and second and was then able to single back up the middle scoring junior Tiffany Phillips from second.
However, in the bottom half of the inning Upstate plated two runs to take the lead. With the runners on second and third Upstate's Cheyanna Ohlrich hit a sacrifice fly to Phillips in right. Phillips throw to the plate ended up getting past catcher Sarah Santana and allowed another run to score.
Holtz got out of the inning by striking out Katie Kelly and two innings later the Bears would retake the lead for good.
In the fourth, Marko reached safely after a dropped third strike and represented the tying run at first. On the next play, freshman Randi Rea attempted to sacrifice bunt to move the runner and she was able to reach as Upstate's Ericka Kaufman's throw to second pulled Ohlrich off the base making all the Bear base runners safe.
The Bears' next batter, Sarah Santana, then pushed a bunt passed a charging Morgan Childers back up the middle that allowed Anna Johnson to score from second and the Bears tied the game at two. Then Tiffany Phillips hit a deep sacrifice fly to left field that scored Rea for the go-ahead run.
From there it was the masterful performance from Holtz that gave the Bears the come-from-behind victory.
Game One vs. No. 1 Jacksonville
The No. 5 Mercer softball team mounted a late-inning comeback against No. 1 Jacksonville on Thursday, but the Dolphins were able to fight off the Bears threat for a 4-1 decision on day two of the Atlantic Sun Championship.
Mercer freshman Randi Rea dropped an RBI single into shallow left field that scored a run in the top of the