Mercer Splits Twin Bill at Winthrop
ROCK HILL, S.C. – The Mercer baseball team split its non-conference doubleheader with Winthrop on Saturday afternoon at the Winthrop Ballpark.
Mercer (29-16) won game one, 5-1, but Winthrop (20-24) bounced back with a 6-3 win in game two. The loss in game two ended the Bears five-game winning streak.
In game one, both starting pitchers matched zeros over the first two innings of play until the Bears came up in the top of the third. Mercer pushed a run across in the frame thanks to an RBI double by junior Jacob Tanis to take an early 1-0 lead.
That is the way things stayed thanks to Mercer starter Brandon Love. Love limited the Eagles offense to just five hits over the first five innings of play to keep the Bears out in front.
All that would change in the bottom of the sixth when Winthrop finally got on the board. After a lead-off bunt single by Tyler Cook, a stolen base, a sacrifice bunt and a wild pitched allowed a run to score and tie the game, at 1-1.
The Orange and Black picked up Love, however, in the top of the seventh when they broke the game open with a four-run inning. A sacrifice fly by freshman Austin Barrett, a two-RBI double by senior John Moreland and RBI single by freshman Derrick Workman put Mercer out in front by a 5-1 margin.
That would be more than enough run support for Love, who tied his career-high with eight innings pitched and allowed just the one run to pick up his team-high sixth win of the season.
Game two of the afternoon started eerily similar to game one, with both starting pitchers dominating early. Mercer's Matt McCall and Winthrop's Robert Lake allowed only one hit apiece through the first two innings of play.
Winthrop broke up the scoreless tie in the bottom of the third when sophomore Matt Lobacz singled up the middle to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
Mercer bounced right back with a run of its own in the top of the fourth when freshman Derrick Workman guided an RBI single up the middle to tie the game, at 1-1.
The back-and-forth affair continued in the bottom half of the fourth when the home team scored five runs in the frame to re-take the lead. A two-RBI triple by senior Adam Gliebe, a fielder choice by junior Cam Walters, an RBI double by Cook and an RBI single by senior Eddie Rohan put Winthrop in front, 6-1.
Lake shut down the Bears offense the rest of the way, allowing just the one run on nine hits in seven innings pitched to pick up the win.
Mercer tried to rally late, scoring two runs in the ninth, but Winthrop reliever Eric Ruth eventually struck out the final two batters of the game to close out the win.
Winker had a breakout day at the plate, going 8-for-10 with a home run and two runs scored. Senior John Moreland was not far behind, going 4-for-8 with three RBI and two runs scored.
Mercer and Winthrop conclude its series with game three on Sunday afternoon. Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Winthrop Ballpark.