Bears Streak Comes to an End After Doubleheader Split With Lipscomb
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After a five hour rain delay, the Mercer baseball team split its doubleheader over Lipscomb on Friday afternoon at Dugan Field at Marsh Stadium.
The Bears took game one 7-4 while Lipscomb came away with a 6-5 win in game two.
The split ended Mercer's seven-game winning streak and moves its record to 31-21 overall and 14-10 in A-Sun play. The split also ended the Bears nation leading nine-game road winning streak.
“Considering we were on the field for 14 hours today I thought we were fortunate to come away with another A-Sun series victory,” said head coach Craig Gibson. “We kind of gave them the final game of the series by committing some bad mental errors and it was a shame because we wasted a great performance by Justice French.”
In game one, Mercer got on the board first thanks to three-straight two-out hits. Sophomore Jacob Tanis, junior Thomas Carroll and senior Michael Langley all collected two-out singles in the first, with Langley's hit bringing in the first run of the game to put Mercer in front, 1-0.
Lipscomb answered right back in the bottom half of the first to retake the lead. The Bisons hit three RBI doubles off Bears starter Brandon Love to go up 3-1.
Tanis brought Mercer a little closer in the third when he hit an RBI double, his 20th of the season, to make the score 3-2.
That is when the rains came, forcing a stoppage of play for just over five hours.
The Bears wasted no time getting things started once play resumed. After a lead-off double by senior Nick DiMauro, Langley followed with his 20th double of the season to drive him in and tie the game up at 3-3.
Junior John Moreland put the Orange and Black ahead to stay in the top of the seventh when he pulled a three-run home run to give the visitors a 6-3 lead. Moreland's long ball was his 18th of the season and extended his hitting streak to a personal best 11 games.
Love made sure the lead stuck as he held Lipscomb scoreless for the rest of his outing. Love worked 7.0 innings and allowed just the three first inning runs on seven hits while striking out seven to earn his team leading seventh win of the season.
Game two saw the Bears once again jump out to an early lead in the top of the first. Tanis guided an RBI single up the middle to put Mercer up 1-0.
Lipscomb knotted the game up at 1-1 in the third when senior Tyler Wilson laid down a perfect suicide squeeze bunt to score the tying run.
The Orange and Black recaptured the lead a few innings later when junior Joe Winker drilled a single into center field that brought home a run to make the score 2-1.
The Bisons stormed back in the bottom of the seventh thanks to a costly Mercer error. A throwing error by Tanis and an RBI triple by freshman Lee Wilson accounted for three runs to put the home team back in front, 4-2.
That put an end to Mercer starter Justice French's day. The junior allowed just one earned run on five hits while striking out four in his third quality start in a row.
The Bears didn't lie down, however, clawing their way back into the game in the top of the eighth thanks to two unlikely sources. Sophomore Nick Adams and freshman Travis Benn each tallied RBI doubles to left to tie the game back up, at 4-4.
In the end, it was not enough as Lipscomb scored two runs in the top of the ninth off a bases loaded walk and a balk to take a 6-5 win.
Tanis ended up going 5-for-10 on the day with two RBI and a run scored while Langley raised his team-high batting average to .393 with a 4-for-7 day at the dish.
“We have to shake this off and get ready for another tough A-Sun series and our senior day this weekend,” said Gibson. “We will learn from this and come back here in two weeks to take care of business in the A-Sun Tournament.”
Mercer will be in action again on May 20 when it returns home after a 26-day hiatus to play its final A-Sun regular season series against Belmont. Game one of the three game set is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Claude Smith Field.