Western Carolina’s Bryan Sammons tossed a complete-game four-hitter as Mercer dropped the opening game of a Southern Conference series 8-2 on Thursday at OrthoGeorgia Park.
Mercer mustered only four hits against Sammons, who went the distance on 121 pitches.
Ryan Askew took the loss for the Bears, who fell to 38-14 (17-5 SoCon) with two games remaining in the 2017 regular season. Western Carolina (27-26, 14-8) moved into sole possession of second place on the conference standings as UNCG dropped its series opener at Samford.
The Catamounts struck first with three runs in the first two innings. Mercer pulled within one run in the third after Charlie Madden (single) and Hunter Bening (walk) reached base to start the frame. Both Bears scored on a RBI groundout by Matt Meeder and RBI single by Alex Hanson.
It was all Western Carolina from there, however, as Askew lasted four innings before giving way to a four-inning relief appearance by Carter Varga.
Charlie Madden went 2-for-3 with his first multi-hit effort since April 26 and scored the Bears’ first run of the game. His battery mate, Carter Varga, notched multiple career-bests in a relief appearance, including four innings pitched, four strikeouts and 16 batters faced.
Alex Hanson extended his hit streak to 11 games. He is the third Bears player to have a 10-plus game hit streak this season.
“Western’s Sammons was outstanding (Thursday),” Mercer head coach Craig Gibson said. “He came in here and did what seniors do to beat good clubs on the road. He had all three pitches working and we did not have many opportunities or solid swings against him. Tip your cap to him and Western Carolina.
“We’ll come back and play well (Friday).”
First pitch Friday is 6 p.m.