Mike Mercurio drove in four runs and Alex Regan tied a school single-season wins record as top-seeded and nationally top-ranked Mount Olive defeated No. 6 seed Lincoln Memorial University 9-3 in in the first round of the Southeast Regional of the 2013 NCAA Division II Baseball Championship Thursday at Mount Olive, N.C. Mount Olive is the host for the regional.
Mount Olive (47-6) takes on No. 3 seed Armstrong Friday at 3 p.m. Armstrong fell to Coker 11-6 in the tournament opener Thursday. Lincoln Memorial (26-25) faces No. 5 seed Georgia College Friday at 11 a.m. in the first elimination game of the tournament.
Regan (14-1), who leads the nation in wins, struck out seven and walked none in eight innings. All three runs allowed by Regan were unearned. Talton Cherry overcame a pair of leadoff singles to pitch a scoreless ninth.
Mount Olive trailed 2-1 and was held to one hit before taking the lead for good with a five-run fourth inning. After Bryan Dunlavey drew a two-out walk and Colby Conway followed with an infield single, Matt Petrone sliced an opposite-field single on a 3-2 pitch to bring in Dunlavey with the tying run. Bradon Reitano walked to load the bases and Mercurio brought everyone home with a double to the left-center field fence. Jermaine Berry's rbi-single gave the Trojans a 6-2 lead.
Mercurio and Berry added rbi-singles in a three-run sixth inning as Mount Olive pulled away. Berry and Conway paced the Trojans' 11-hit attack with three hits apiece.
Lincoln Memorial capitalized on a two-out error to get on the scoreboard in the top of the second. Josh Coker followed with an infield single and Nolan Woody gave the Railsplitters their first lead with a double to left-center.
Lincoln Memorial starter Brandon Cowan (5-3) escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first with only one run allowed and retired eight of 10 batters before Dunlavey keyed Mount Olive's two-out rally in the fourth.
Regan tied the school wins record set by Carter Capps in 2011. Capps is now in his second season as a relief pitcher for the Seattle Mariners and has already recorded his first two Major League wins.