Bears Coast to 13-6 Win over USC Upstate
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Junior Jacob Tanis went 3-for-5 with a home run and four RBI to lead the Mercer baseball team to an easy 13-6 win over USC Upstate on Saturday evening at Harley Park.
Mercer (31-17) improved to 13-11 in A-Sun Conference play with the win, while USC Upstate (17-33) fell to 8-15 in the league after the loss.
"I thought Brandon Love got us off to a great start tonight on the mound and we put together some quality at-bats offensively to pull away early," head coach Craig Gibson said. "We have two more big games tomorrow afternoon and we hope we can take care of business up here and keep our momentum going into Georgia State and East Tennessee State next week."
The Bears got off to a quick start in the top of the first against USC Upstate Gaither Bumgardner. After junior Billy Burns walked and senior Joe Winker reached with a single, Tanis teed off on a three-run home run to dead center to give Mercer a 3-0 lead.
Tanis' home run was the 47th of his career at Mercer; putting him just four shy of Todd Greene for fourth-most on the A-Sun Conference all-time list.
After a one hour and four minute rain delay, due to rain showers passing through the area, the Mercer offense went back to work. Back-to-back RBI singles by senior Thomas Carroll and freshman Austin Barrett in the top of the third increased the Bears advantage up to 5-0.
The Spartans finally got on the board against Mercer starter Brandon Love in the bottom of the fifth with a pair of runs. An RBI single by freshman Luke Weber and a sacrifice fly made the score 5-2 Bears.
Mercer responded in the top of the sixth with four runs thanks to some USC Upstate miscues. A wild pitch, a two-run throwing error and an RBI single by Tanis pushed the Orange and Black's lead to 9-2.
That would be plenty of run support for Love who departed after allowing three earned runs on six hits in five innings pitched to pick up his team leading seventh win of the season.
After USC Upstate scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth, the Bears plated two runs of their own in the top of the seventh. After senior John Moreland and freshman DJ Johnson hit back-to-back singles with two outs, freshman Derrick Workman brought them home with a two-RBI double to put Mercer back up by seven, at 11-4.
Workman finished the game with three hits and three RBI while Johnson scored a team-high three runs in the victory.
Mercer concludes its three-game series against USC Upstate on Sunday afternoon with a doubleheader. Game one is set for 1 p.m. with game two to follow at 4:30 p.m. at Harley Park.