The Mercer softball team swept a pair of games from Eastern Kentucky Saturday afternoon, defeating the Colonels by scores of 10-0 in five innings and 4-3 to advance to the championship game of the Mercer Invitational at Sikes Field.
With sweep of EKU, Mercer improves to 3-1 on the young season and advances to the championship game of the Mercer Invitational Sunday afternoon, facing unbeaten Samford at 2:15 p.m. Eastern Kentucky will battle Florida A&M in the consolation game at noon.
In game one on Saturday, Mercer was nearly perfect in all facets of the game, using a complete-game one-hit shutout from Anna O'Neil and scoring 10 runs on 11 hits to shutout Eastern Kentucky.
While O'Neil (1-0) was busy sitting the Colonels down in order, Mercer scored a pair of runs in each of the two innings and followed with a run in the fourth and five more in the fifth.
Needing three runs in the fifth inning to end the game in run-rule fashion, Mercer came up big at the plate, manufacturing a pair of runs before Riley Carter came on to pinch hit with two on and two outs and connected with a three-run blast to left center to give the Bears a walk-off 10-0 victory in five innings.
McKenzie Woody, Randi Rae and Natalie Shiver all finished with multiple hits in the game, while Kaylynn Sloat blasted her first home run of the year to lead off the fourth inning.
Game two proved to be a pitcher's duel until the third inning when the Bears played long ball again, striking for a pair of mammoth home runs to put a four spot on the board. Caroline Taylor led off the frame with a solo blast down the left field line, and Kaytlin Haney belted a three-run homer later in the inning to give Mercer a commanding 4-0 advantage.
The Colonels had a golden opportunity to score in the first inning with a runner on third and just one out, but Carter Riley recorded back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat and keep the game scoreless.
Riley took a no-hitter into the fifth inning before Jessica Gregg led off the frame with a single up the middle for the first base knock of the contest for EKU. The single would be all the Colonels could muster however, as Riley stranded the potential runner on second to end the inning.
The Colonels added an unearned run in the sixth inning on a groundout and a pair of unearned runs in the seventh, but Mercer held on for the 4-3 victory and two-game sweep of EKU.
Riley (1-1) picked up the victory in 5.0 innings of work, giving up just one hit and no runs, while striking out six and walking a pair. Kirsten Stevens came and tossed the final two frames and gave up two hits and three unearned runs.