Bears Complete Three-Game Series Sweep of Bethune-Cookman
MACON, Ga. – The Mercer baseball team used some offensive fireworks in game one and some stellar starting pitching in game two to sweep both Sunday's doubleheader and the three-game series from Bethune-Cookman at Claude Smith Field.
Mercer (6-1) ran away with game one 19-4 before pulling out a 5-0 triumph in the nightcap. The 19 runs in game two is tied for the 10th-most runs scored by a team in a single game in all of Division I so far this season.
The Bears went about winning both games very differently, belting five home runs in the opener before using seven shutout innings by junior DJ Johnson to pull out game two.
In game one, after Mercer starter Grant Papelian allowed a run in the top of the first inning, the floodgates opened for the Bears offense soon after. A two-RBI single by junior Michael Massi and a two-RBI double by classmate Derrick Workman in the bottom half of the frame put the Orange and Black in front to stay at 4-1.
The run support would continue in the form of a five-run third inning and an eight-run rally in the fourth to blow the game wide open. Mercer received three-run home runs by senior David Reid-Foley and Workman and a pair of two-run long balls by juniors Nick Backlund and Sasha LaGarde during the scoring barrage to make the score 19-3.
Papelian would do the rest from there, throwing a career-high five innings and allowing the three earned runs on eight hits while striking out two for his second career victory.
Game two was the complete opposite, with both teams struggling to generate any runs early on. A solo home run by senior Logan Gaines made the score 1-0 Mercer and that exact score would hold up all the way to the bottom of the sixth inning.
With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the sixth, Workman delivered the hit of the day when he sliced a three-RBI triple down the right field line to make the score 4-0 Mercer.
That was more than enough offense for Johnson, who was masterful on the mound in just his second career start. The Adel, Ga. native threw a career-high seven scoreless innings when all was said and done and scattered just three hits while striking out six to earn the win.
Workman was the big hitter on the day, going a combined 4-for-7 in both games with two doubles, a triple, a home run, three runs scored and eight RBI.
Mercer returns to action on February 26 with the first of two mid-week contests against Florida A&M. Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Claude Smith Field.