DELAND, Fla. – The Stetson Hatters scored a run in the eighth and a run in the ninth to spoil a dazzling pitching performance by junior Brandon Love and capture a 3-2 victory over the Mercer baseball team on Saturday afternoon at Melching Field.
Mercer (14-7, 4-4 A-Sun) out-hit Stetson (15-4, 4-1 A-Sun) 9-8, but left nine men on base and went 3-for-18 with runners on base in the game.
After both teams failed to break through over the first two innings of play, Mercer lit up the scoreboard first in the top of the third. Sophomore Evan Boyd and junior Billy Burns led off the frame with back-to-back singles with Boyd eventually scoring on a strikeout and throw down to first to make the score 1-0.
The Bears added on to their lead in the top of the fourth thanks to some extra base hits. Senior John Moreland led off the inning with a double and freshman Derrick Workman drove him in moments later with a triple down the right field line to put Mercer out in front, 2-0.
Stetson cut Mercer's lead in half in the bottom half of the fourth when junior Robert Crews singled up the middle to drive in a run. A second Stetson baserunner also attempted to score on the hit, but Burns fired a bullet towards home plate to gun out the runner and keep the score 2-1 in favor of the Bears.
Love preserved the lead from that point forward with a stellar performance on the mound. The Augusta, Ga. native went seven innings and allowed one run on five hits to go along with one strikeout.
Unfortunately, Love's brilliant outing resulted in a no-decision after the Hatters tied the game up at 2-2 in the bottom of the eighth thanks to an RBI single by senior Sean Emory.
The Hatters completed their comeback in the bottom of the ninth when sophomore Ryan Lashley singled through a drawn in infield to score the game-winning run.
Moreland finished the day going 2-for-4 with two doubles, while senior Joe Winker and Boyd each tallied two hits apiece in the loss.
Mercer concludes its three-game series against Stetson on Sunday afternoon. Game time is set for 1 p.m. at Melching Field.