Bottoms' two-run homer ties game
Mercer tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom half of the inning when Michael Bottoms hit a two-run homer to left center.
"Bottoms' home run was a big blow for us," Shope said. "We just wanted him to put the ball in play and have them make the plays in the field."
When they did put runners on base, though, the Scotties had problems scoring runs. They left nine runners on base and had a runner picked off third during the contest.
"We have been able to get runners on base all year but we had had problems capitalizing," the Mercer coach said. "My biggest pet peeve, though, is striking out with men on base, and we did that three times today."
Wickliffe settled down after the shaky first inning to throw two-hit baseball the rest of the way.
"He has thrown the ball well for us all year," Shope said. "He is not the fastest pitcher we have, but he throws a lot of off speed stuff and manages to get ground balls. His record (2-4) doesn't indicate how well he has pitched for us."
Potts' diving catch saves three runs
Garrard threatened to score in the fourth when it loaded the bases on a single by Chris Clark, an error on a ground ball hit by Jamison Flynn and a walk. However, Andy Potts made a diving catch in center field on a sinking liner off the bat of Ayers to save three runs and ended the Lions' rally.
"Kyle hit the ball right on the button, but (Potts) made a real nice catch," Garrard coach Brad Woods said. "We hit several balls hard today but right at them, and they made the plays in the field. We could have really hurt them if the ball gets by on the line drive, but that's the way the game of baseball is sometimes."
Garrard had only three hits, but it pushed across the go-ahead run in the fifth when Doan singled, stole second and scored on a pair of groundouts.
Mercer (11-9, 5-0) regained the lead in the bottom half of the inning when Blake Yeager and Wickliffe singled and Bottoms walked to load the bases. Woods brought in Matt Hume to face McRay, and his single to left scored two runs to give the Scotties a 4-3 advantage. Mercer added an unearned run later in the inning and Doan prevented more runs from scoring when he picked Potts off third with the bases loaded.
"That was a heck of a play and gave us a chance to come back," Woods added. "But we didn't hit the ball. We have to hit it better. Jordan threw well and I put Matt in a tight spot when I brought him in with the bases loaded and no outs. We just need to start finishing games."
Shope was pleased to get the win, which clinched the top seed in the upcoming 46th District tournament.
"That was our number one goal, and the kids were able to accomplish what they set out to do," Shope said.