March 20, 2011

Bears Let Late Lead Slip Away in 3-2 Defeat at Stetson

DELAND, Fla. – The Stetson Hatters scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth to hand the Mercer baseball team yet another heartbreaking 3-2 loss on Sunday afternoon at Melching Field.

 

The win for Stetson (16-4, 5-1 A-Sun) secured the series sweep for the Hatters and was its third straight one-run victory over Mercer (14-8, 4-5 A-Sun) in as many days.

 

The theme early on, as has been the case all series, was strong starting pitching by both squads. Mercer's Justice French and Stetson's Tucker Donahue both matched zeros over the first two innings of play.

 

The Hatters broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the third with an unearned run off French thanks to an error and a wild pitch to take an early 1-0 lead.

 

That would be all the scoring either team could muster over the first seven innings of the contest. Both French and Donahue pitched into the seventh and shut down the opposing team's offense.

 

French went 6.2 innings and allowed the one unearned run on eight hits to go along with one strikeout.

 

Donahue lasted seven innings and allowed one run on five hits and one strikeout in his outing.

 

The Mercer bats finally started to click in the eighth after a lead-off double by freshman Derrick Workman and a walk by sophomore Evan Boyd to chase Donahue from the contest.

 

Junior Robbie Powell came on in relief and gave up an RBI groundout to junior Billy Burns to tie the game at 1-1. After a pitching change by the Hatters, Mercer tacked on an insurance run to make the score 2-1 when a wild pitch allowed sophomore Evan Boyd to score from third base.

 

The lead was short lived for the Bears, however, as Stetson scored two runs of its own on an RBI triple by junior Mark Jones and a sacrifice fly to re-take the lead, at 3-2.

 

Mercer threatened in the ninth after a lead-off double by junior Jacob Tanis, but junior Jake Boyd came on to get the final two outs in the ninth to secure the win for the home team.   

 

Burns, Tanis and Workman each tallied two hits apiece in the loss.

 

Mercer is back on the diamond on Monday evening when it welcomes Florida A&M to Claude Smith Field for a non-conference mid-week tilt. Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m.