As the exciting 2022 season has continued, there have been more mid-majors that continue to separate themselves from the pack.
Two teams specifically have made their presence known on top of their own conference.
In the preseason, Wofford and Mercer were picked to finish first and second in the SoCon Conference.
While that appears that it may hold true, one question remains prominent: Which team will finish in first?
Here’s a quick look at how each team has fared so far this season:
No. 37 Wofford
Just nudging out their conference competitor in Mercer, Wofford is ranked No. 37 in this week’s College Baseball Nation’s Top 50.
After a crushing ninth-inning loss against Georgia on March 1, Wofford sat at 2-5 on the season. Since then, they’ve dominated, winning 18 of their last 22 contests.
The Terriers have won their last five weekend series, including taking two of three at No. 32 Dallas Baptist this weekend.
Wofford has been so successful by playing small ball this season. With only having 20 home runs in their first 29 games, their .412 on-base percentage ranks among the best in college baseball; the Terriers have a .295 batting average as a team.
Wofford is led by John Dempsey, Ryan Galanie, and Brennen Dorighi at the plate, all who are hitting over .350 (Dempsey .379, Galanie .300, Dorighi .356).
The bullpen has been utterly dominant for Wofford, as Dalton Rhadans (37.1 IP), Luke Stephens (13.1 IP), and Holden Wilder (20.2 IP) all have ERA’s under 2.00. Wofford’ starters have not typically gone deep into games, so the dominant bullpen is a major plus for 2021 SoCon Coach of the Year Todd Interdonato.
Wofford was selected as the preseason favorite in the SoCon. Who was second?
No. 38 Mercer
The biggest threat to Wofford atop of the standings is Mercer.
Mercer is 24-5 to start the season as they’re coming off a three-game sweep at Seton Hall. While Mercer’s non-conference schedule may not have been as strong as Wofford’s, they’re a dominant 18-2 at home this season.
A season ago, Mercer held a 35-22 record after falling in back-to-back games in the SoCon Tournament, including being eliminated on a walk off against Wofford.
But, Mercer has been dominant so far this season as they try to prove their worth in the conference.
Bill Knight and Treyson Hughes have been incredible to start the year, as both have OPS’s over 1.050.
Mercer likes to hit homes and they like to do it a lot. They have hit 53 home runs in their first 29 games this season. The Bears have a team average of .303 and an OPS of .953.
Nobody has stepped up bigger than freshman starting pitcher — and now Friday night pitcher — Josh Harlow. Harlow has posted a 3.93 ERA as a true freshman through seven starts; the Bears are 6-1 when he pitches.
What will be incredibly vital for Mercer is to keep the consistency. After starting off on the right foot, Mercer will need this play, and offensive dominance, as the SoCon season continues.
The big Wofford-Mercer showdown is coming up soon, as it will be played April 22-24 with Mercer serving as the host.