STATESBORO, Ga. – The Mercer baseball team is now on an eight-game winning streak after taking it to Georgia Southern in a 12-4 win on Tuesday evening in front of 1,125 fans at J.I. Clements Stadium.
Mercer (9-1) continues to dominate in-state competition, with tonight's victory making it seven-straight wins against schools in the state of Georgia dating back to last season. Two wins during the streak have come against Georgia Southern with one win against Kennesaw State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Savannah State and Georgia State, respectively.
Mercer lit up the scoreboard first in the top of the first thanks to some clutch two-out hitting. After a single and a walk, junior Travis Benn crushed a three-run home run to left center to give the Bears an early 3-0 lead.
The Orange and Black kept up their early run support of starter Dimitri Kourtis with another long ball in the top of the third. Sophomore Nick Backlund took a 1-0 pitch and drilled a two-run home run to center field to give Mercer a 5-0 lead.
The Eagles managed to scrap some runs across in the bottom of the third off Kourtis thanks to some Mercer miscues. A wild pitch and an error allowed Georgia Southern to plate three runs in the frame and pull within two, at 5-3.
After a scoreless fourth inning, the Bears responded with three more runs in the top of the fifth. Back-to-back RBI doubles by Backlund and junior Logan Gaines and an RBI groundout by freshman Chesny Young extended Mercer's lead up to 8-3.
That would be more than enough for Kourtis who was brilliant over his six innings of work. The Alpharetta, Ga. native allowed just three runs, only one of which was earned, on five hits to go along with four strikeouts to pick up his second win of the season.
Gaines capped off the evening in the top of the eighth when he clubbed a two-run home run, tying him with Backlund for the team lead with four on the season, to make the score 12-4.
Gaines had a monster game at the dish, tallying a season-high four hits and four runs scored while Backlund finished 3-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored.
Sophomore Ben Morgan led Georgia Southern offensively going 3-for-4 with a run scored.
Mercer returns to action on Friday night when it begins a three-game series with High Point. Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Williard Stadium.