Mercer County got off to a hot start with a four-run first inning and went on to defeat Wayne County 6-0 Monday in the opening game of the 12th Region Tournament at Admiral Field.
The Titans (21-12), the defending regional champions, used three hits and two walks to gain the upper hand before the Cardinals (18-15) came to the plate for the first time.
The big blow in the inning was a bases-loaded double by Tyler Devine, who had three of Mercer's seven hits.
"It was a good first inning. We put some pressure on them early and capitalized on a few mistakes," Mercer coach Jeremy Shope said. "It was a good way to start out the tournament."
Mercer pitchers John Ingram and Brendan Robinson made sure Wayne didn't threaten the Titans' lead, holding the Cardinals to five hits.
Mercer advanced to a semifinal game tonight against Somerset, which defeated Lincoln County 8-4. Danville faces West Jessamine in the other semifinal after Danville defeated Southwestern 7-4 and West Jessamine edged Pulaski County 3-2 on Monday.
Devine went 3 for 4, Matthew Sims was 2 for 3 and Seth Heath was 2 for 4 for Mercer.
All of them had hits in the first inning, when five straight batters reached base. Devine's double cleared the bases and gave the Titans a 3-0 lead, and Sims followed with an RBI single.
The Titans scored two more runs in the third inning off Wayne starter Landon Hutchison on a single by Heath, a double by J.T. Long and a single by Devine.
Ingram allowed one hit over the first three innings; Robinson allowed four hits in four innings and earned his first win of the season.
Danville 7, Southwestern 4 — Andrew Lasure was 2 for 3 with a solo home run and Austin Baxter picked up the win for the Admirals (30-9).
Baxter went the first 3 1/3 innings, striking out four, walking two and allowing two earned runs. Tyler Beldon went 1 2/3 innings, and Rob Caudill pitched the final two innings, striking out six to get the save.
Caudill also had an RBI double in the sixth, Lasure had a solo homer in the third and Cole Phillips also drove in a run for the Admirals, who scored three in the second and put the game away with two in the bottom of the sixth.
“Our pitching was good. We made a couple of errors (in the fourth) there in the one inning that cost us some runs, but besides that, we threw the ball well,” Danville coach Paul Morse said. “Ron came in and slammed the door on them, which was good to see.
Somerset 8, Lincoln County 4 — Somerset (25-11) rallied with eight runs in the sixth inning to defeat Lincoln (20-18).
Jacob Pelston's grand slam was the biggest of nine hits and one of two home runs in the inning for the Briar Jumpers, who had only five hits in the first five innings.
The Patriots took a 4-1 lead with two runs in the top of the sixth inning and were clinging to a 4-3 lead when Pelston homered off reliever Logan Young, who had intentionally walked Somerset's leading hitter, Storm Wilson, to load the bases with one out.
Jarred Price later hit a two-run homer for the Jumpers, who sent 11 batters to the plate in the inning.
Starter Zach Brown took the loss after allowing five runs in 5 1/3 innings, and Brown was charged with three runs. Somerset's 14 hits included six extra-base hits.
Nick Smith went 2 for 4 for Lincoln, which had seven hits off Somerset's Heath Ehrsam, who pitched a complete game. Dylan King hit a solo home run in the third inning, when the Patriots took a 2-0 lead, and Chase Pemberton hit a two-run homer in the sixth.
12th Region Tournament
Mercer County 402 000 0 — 6 7 1
Wayne County 000 000 0 — 0 5 2
Ingram, Robinson (4) and Guay. Hutchison, Gehring (4) and Corder. W—Robinson. L—Hutchison. 2B—Devine (MC), Long (MC), Blevins (WC).
Lincoln County 002 002 0 — 4 7 0
Somerset 001 007 x — 8 14 4
Brown, Young (6) and Morris. Ehrsam and Dishman. W—Ehrsam. L—Brown. 2B—Speaks (S), C. Pelston (S), Dishman (S). HR—King (LC), Pemberton (LC), Dishman (S), J. Pelston, Price (S).
Southwestern 001 210 0 — 4 4 4
Danville 031 012 x — 7 6 2
Baxter, Beldon (4), Caudill (6) and Lasure. W—Baxter. S—Caudill (3). 2B—Caudill (D). HR—Lasure (D).