- Steven Grandy / WCU
Catamount Softball Downs Mercer in Opening Game of SoCon Tournament
Jeralynn Wells’ two-out single broke a 2-2 tie in the third inning as fourth-seeded Western Carolina defeated Mercer 3-2 in the opening game of the 2023 Southern Conference Tournament on Wednesday morning at Frost Stadium.
The Catamounts (21-24) advance to face top-seeded UNCG on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. Mercer (18-36) drops to an elimination game on Thursday at 8 p.m. All games in the SoCon Tournament will be streamed on ESPN+ (paid subscription required) with free live stats available on CatamountSports.com and SoConSports.com.
In the top of the first, Mercer put two aboard with nobody out, but a double play and a lineout ended the threat.
Brooklynn Brewington led off the WCU half of the frame with a single and reached second on a one-out base hit by Bailey Huneycutt. Following a wild pitch that advanced the runners a base, Myra Twitty singled through the left side for a 1-0 Catamount lead. Mattie Mentel executed a squeeze bunt as Huneycutt raced home for a 2-0 Catamount advantage after one inning of play.
Mercer managed to tie the game with a pair of runs in their half of the third. But, in the home half of the inning, Twitty led off with a walk and reached second on a groundout. Following a popout, Twitty stole third base to set the stage for Wells’ big run-scoring hit.
The Bears threatened in the fifth inning with runners at second and third with two out, but WCU pitcher Jayme Eilers got a foul out to end the frame. Then in the sixth, Mercer had runners at second and third with one out, but again Eilers got out of trouble unscathed thanks to a strikeout and lineout to Huneycutt at third.
Mentel went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles and an RBI to lead the Catamounts. Twitty and Wells both finished 1-for-2 with a single, a run scored, and RBI. Huneycutt went 1-for-3 with a single and run scored. Huneycutt’s base hit gave her sole possession of second place in program history for career hits with 194. Brewington finished 1-for-4 with a single. Natalie Henry was 1-for-3 with a single.
Eilers (7-6) allowed two runs, one earned, on seven hits with one walk and four strikeouts in her ninth complete game of the season.
Alyssa Henry went 3-for-4 with three singles to lead Mercer. Avery Barton also had a multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 with two singles. Grace Taylor (11-19) took the loss as she surrendered three runs on six hits with two walks and a strikeout in 4.0 innings.