Mercer Splits Doubleheader With FGCU
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Junior John Moreland hit two home runs to help the Mercer baseball team split its Atlantic Sun doubleheader with FGCU on Saturday afternoon at Swanson Stadium.
The Bears took game one 5-4 while the Eagles captured game two, 6-4.
The split moves Mercer's overall record to 17-14 overall and 5-4 in Atlantic Sun play. FGCU, meanwhile, sits at 17-10 overall and 9-3 in A-Sun action with the split.
"After Sale came out and got us on Friday night I thought we fought very hard today and was proud of the way our guys competed," head coach Craig Gibson said. "We came out and got a big win in game one and had a chance to sweep the doubleheader but came up just a little short."
The Eagles jumped on the scoreboard first in game one, with a run in the bottom of the first off Mercer starter Matt McCall. An RBI single by junior Zach Maxfield put FGCU out in front, 1-0.
Mercer knotted the game back up when it scrapped together a run in the top of the fifth. After back-to-back singles by senior Nick DiMauro and Moreland, an errant pick-off throw by FGCU starter Richie Erath allowed DiMauro to score to tie the game up at 1-1.
FGCU reclaimed the lead in its half of the fifth with an RBI double by junior Mikel Alvarez to put the Eagles back on top, 2-1.
That hit and run scored ended McCall's day after a solid outing for the Bears. The Valdosta, Ga. product went 4.2 innings, allowing just two earned runs on seven hits while striking out two.
The Bears answered in a big way in the sixth, taking their first lead of the game thanks to some clutch two-out hitting. An RBI double by senior Michael Langley and a two-RBI single by junior Joe Winker, all with two outs, propelled Mercer out to a 4-2 lead.
The back-and-forth see-saw affair continued in the bottom half of the sixth when junior Luke Smierciak hit a solo home run to left to bring the Eagles within one, at 4-3.
Moreland pushed the Bears lead back up to two with one swing of the bat in the seventh. The Marietta, Ga. native crushed a 2-1 pitch for a solo home run, his eighth of the year, to make the score 5-3.
Freshman David Teasley, senior Lath Guyer and junior J.T. Odom closed the door on FGCU, shutting down the Eagles offense the rest of the way. Teasley threw 3.1 innings of relief to earn the win and Odom got the final two outs in the ninth to pick up the save.
Game two started out the same way as game one, with the Eagles jumping out to an early lead. Junior Tim Roberson hit an RBI single to center off Bears starter Chris Newell to put FGCU up 1-0.
The Eagles increased their lead up to 3-0 in the fifth with a pair of RBI doubles by Roberson and junior Austin Gaines.
Newell departed after the last double with a final line of 4.2 innings pitched, four runs allowed and one strikeout.
Mercer clawed its way right back into the game in the seventh with the long ball. After a DiMauro single, Moreland blasted his second home run of the day to cut the Eagles' lead down to 4-2. The Bears were not done yet in the frame. After another single by freshman Evan Boyd, sophomore Jacob Tanis blasted a two-run home run of his own to tie the game up 4-4.
FGCU re-took the lead when it put up a two-spot in the bottom half of the seventh. An RBI double by Gaines and an RBI single from freshman Kurtis Mullaney gave the Eagles a 6-4 lead.
Those two runs ended up being the margin of victory in the end, as juniors Rob Matthews and Jack Wagoner combined to record the final six outs of the game to secure the win for FGCU.
"Teasley and Newell were just two of the guys who stepped up and pitched well for us today," said Gibson. "FGCU will definitely be in Nashville come May, and are definite contenders for the A-Sun title."
Mercer will be back in action on Wednesday afternoon when its plays a doubleheader against in-state rival Savannah State. Game one is scheduled for 1 p.m. with game two to follow at 4 p.m. at Claude Smith Field.