Rock Hill, SC - From the Big South Conference:
ROCK HILL, SC – Mike Mercurio's seventh inning sacrifice fly broke an 8-8 tie and capped a four-run inning to rally No. 4 High Point past No. 3 Radford, 10-8, in Game 5 of the 2010 Royal Purple Big South Baseball Championship, May 26 at The Winthrop Ballpark on the campus of Winthrop University.
With the victory, High Point improves to 30-27 and advances to play No. 2 seed Liberty Thursday night at 7 p.m. Radford falls to 29-25 and moves to the loser's bracket, where the Highlanders will face No. 1 seed Coastal Carolina Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m.
The game featured several ties and lead changes in the late innings. Big South Player of the Year Nate Roberts belted a two-run home run to put the Panthers up 2-0 in the top of the first inning. He brought home Pablo Rosario, who opened the game with a single to left.
High Point tacked on another run in the second inning when Murray White IV singled to center, moved to second on Drew Geissinger's sacrifice and scored on a fielding error by Radford second baseman Phil Bondi.
The Highlanders cut the deficit to 3-1 in the bottom of the third inning when Brett Mollenhauer drew a two-out walk and eventually scored on Raphael Turner's single to centerfield. High Point extended its lead to 5-1 in the top of the fourth on Matt Gantner's RBI fielder's choice and Steve Antolik's sacrifice fly.
Radford would continue its comeback and tie the game at 5-5 in the fifth inning.
In the fourth, Andrew Cook blasted a solo home run to left center to make it 5-2. Radford then plated three runs in the fifth to knot the game.
Tyren Rivers singled, stole second and later came home on Reggie Keen's single to right to make it 5-3. Then with two outs, Matt Hillsinger doubled to right and scored Keen and Alex Guerra to make it 5-5. Guerra had reached base with a walk and also stole a base in the inning.
But as quickly as Radford tied it, High Point took the lead right back in the next inning. Rosario reached on a bunt single and was sacrificed to second by Mercurio. Radford starter Aerik Taylor was replaced by Paul DeVito, who threw a wild pitch to move Rosario to third. A passed ball by RU catcher Robert Lamas allowed Rosario to score.
High Point's lead was short-lived, as Radford took its first lead of the night in the sixth inning when Turner blasted a two-run home run to put the Highlanders ahead, 8-6. Mollenhauer tied the game at 6-6 earlier in the inning when he singled home Bondi, who walked to open the inning.