DELAND, Fla. – Two of the premier closers in the Atlantic Sun Conference squared off in a heroic effort to carry their team into the winner's bracket Thursday night at the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament. In extra innings, Robbie Elsemiller came out on top of Andrew Urena for a 6-5 Stetson victory over Mercer at Melching field.
Elsemiller tossed a career high 4.1 innings of relief to earn the win, scattering five hits with no walks and two strikeouts. Urena was saddled with the loss after equaling his career high with four innings of relief.
"That was a great baseball game no matter who you are rooting for," head coach Craig Gibson said. "Andrew [Urena] did everything he could for us; it was a great effort. We just came up a little short. I'd like to also congratulate Coach [Pete] Dunn on his 1,000 win tonight. That is a tremendous accomplishment.
Mercer (33-25) got things going right away, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning.
But Stetson rallied immediately with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the first for an early lead.
After a two-run outburst in the bottom of the fourth inning, the Hatters had a 5-2 lead, but the Bears would respond, as they have all season, with three runs in the top of the seventh to tie the game at 5-5.
Hunter Abercrombie and Blake Marsocci each made appearances for the Bears and Hatters, respectively, before handing the game over to Elsemiller and Urena.
Elsemiller won the battle of attrition that lasted for the next four innings, as Urena finally yielded the winning run in the bottom of the 11th inning on a Brian Pruitt bases-loaded, two-out single to left.
Sean McCahill had a big day for the Bears, going 4-for-6 at the top of the order. Eric Renfroe was 3-for-5 on the night. Tyler McCarty, Shawn Barrett and Mike Armstrong each had two hits for the Bears.
Mercer now plays top-seeded Jacksonville at 11 a.m. on Friday. The winner of that game plays Stetson at 7 p.m. The loser is eliminated from the tournament.