Baseball Drops Season Opener to Morehead State, 7-6
MACON, Ga. – Despite a late-inning rally, the Mercer
baseball team came up just short in a 7-6 defeat at Claude Smith
Field on Friday afternoon.
The contest was the 2010 season opener for both squads and featured a combined 23 hits and five home runs.
The two big differences in the game that helped the Eagles defeat the Bears were runners left on base and RBI opportunities. Morehead State left three men on base and went 4-for-11 in RBI opportunities while Mercer stranded 11 men on base and was only 1-for-6 in RBI chances.
“I thought overall we played well for our first game,” head coach Craig Gibson said. “Morehead State has a good ball club, but we just left too many men on base which we need to improve upon moving forward.”
Sixth-year senior Lath Guyer took the ball for the Bears and struggled to get through a tough Morehead State lineup. Guyer ended up going five innings, allowing all seven earned runs on 10 hits to take the loss.
The Eagles jumped on Guyer early, concluding the barrage in the fifth when senior shortstop Drew Lee put Morehead State up 7-2 with a two-run homerun.
The Bears would not give in, however, using the long ball to try to attempt a late-inning comeback. Junior Thomas Carroll started the rally in the bottom of the fifth when he hit a laser beam that carried well over the right field wall to bring Mercer within four, at 7-3.
Sophomore Sean Olenek continued the trend by guiding a ball just over the right-centerfield fence in the sixth inning, to cut the Eagles lead down to 7-4.
Carroll would lead off the ninth inning in style, clubbing his second long ball of the contest to make the score 7-6 Morehead State. That is where the rally would end for Mercer, as Morehead State closer Cody Gibson would record the final three outs in the inning to secure the win.
“It was great to see Olenek and Carroll get off to such great starts hitting the ball,” said Gibson. “There is a lot of baseball left this year so we are just going to come out here tomorrow and try to pick up a win for our club.”
Sophomore Billy Burns had a solid all-around game for Mercer, going 3-for-3 with a run scored and two stolen bases.
Eagles starting pitcher Michael Bottoms pitched well, allowing just four earned runs in six innings of work to earn the win.
Mercer will be back in action tomorrow afternoon as it will play a doubleheader against Morehead State at Claude Smith Field. Game one of the double dip is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.