MACON, Ga. – After almost seven hours on the diamond, the Mercer baseball team did the unthinkable rallying from three extra inning deficits to eventually pull out an incredible 7-6 14-inning victory on Thursday evening at Claude Smith Field.
The win was even more critical for Mercer (35-19, 13-12 A-Sun) because it stays tied with Florida Gulf Coast, who also won tonight, for sixth place in the Atlantic Sun Conference standings with just two regular season games remaining.
With the score tied at 3-3 after nine innings of play, things started getting exciting moving into extra innings.
After USC Upstate took a 4-3 lead in the top of the 10th inning thanks to an RBI single by junior Trey Richardson, redshirt sophomore Austin Barrett crushed a solo home run to dead center to tie the game back up at 4-4.
The Spartans scored once again in the top of the 12th thanks to a Mercer throwing error, but redshirt sophomore Nick Backlund kept the Bears alive with a clutch RBI single to make the score 5-5.
USC Upstate kept trying to close the game out when senior Austin Liput hit a solo home run in the top of the 13th to give the visitors a 6-5 advantage. The Orange and Black just wouldn't die, however, receiving an RBI double from freshman Chesny Young to tie the game at 6-6 and move deeper into the wee hours of the morning.
Sophomore DJ Johnson eventually sent all the Bears, and what sparse crowd was still left at Claude Smith Field, home happy in the bottom of the 14th inning when he hit a bases loaded RBI single to plate the game-winning run at 12:40 am to seal the 7-6 win.
Mercer used nine pitchers in the game, capped off by freshman Ben Lumsden who pitched a perfect inning of relief in the top of the 14th inning to pick up his second win of the season.
Johnson had a career-high five hits in the contest to go along with two RBI and two runs scored while Backlund had two hits to move his A-Sun Conference leading batting average up to .376 for the season.
Mercer and USC Upstate continue its three-game series this afternoon. Game time is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Claude Smith Field.