Mercer drops nail-biter to Chattanooga in SoCon Championship Game
Chattanooga came out swinging, scoring all three of its runs in the first three innings of play. The Mocs plated two runs in the opening frame on three hits, before adding their third and final run of the game in the third for a 3-0 advantage.
However, the Bears broke through in the fourth inning to break up Chattanooga’s shutout bid. Mercer opened the inning with back-to-back singles from Natalie Shiver and Taylor Rogers, before loading the bases with Kaylynn Sloat’s hit-by-pitch. Quirisa Mauga’s sacrifice fly plated Shiver to cut the deficit to two, 3-1, but the Bears were unable to strike further damage.
Mercer put a pair of runner aboard in the final three innings, but was unable to complete the comeback. The Bears were held to a tournament-low four hits on the afternoon, including a team-high two hits from Rogers.
Fresh off her first career no-hitter and an appearance on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays, Kirsten Stevens threw her 30th complete game of the year. The sophomore allowed just three runs on seven hits while striking out four batters. However, Chattanooga’s Taylor Deason was up to the challenge, picking up the win after tossing seven innings and allowing one run on four hits.
The Bears landed two players on the Southern Conference All-Tournament team, as Sloat and Stevens were honored for their performances throughout the week.
Sloat batted .636 on the week, going 7-for-11 with three runs, two doubles, one home run, and four RBIs from the designated player position. Stevens posted a 3-2 record with a 1.87 ERA during the tournament, holding opponents to a .225 batting average while posting one of the tournament’s highlights with an 11-strikeout, no-hit performance in the semifinal win over Furman on Friday.
Mercer closed out the season with a record of 37-22, which is good enough for the third best record in program history. The 37 victories in 2015 also marks the first time the Bears have produced back-to-back 30 win seasons since 2008-09. Mercer’s march to the SoCon championship game also helped the Bears make back-to-back title-game appearances for the first time in program history.