MACON, Ga. – Despite last minutes schedule changes and temperatures in the low 40's, the Mercer baseball team swept a pair of games in day one of its play in the Indiana State Tournament on Friday afternoon at Bob Warn Field.
Mercer (13-2) won game one of its doubleheader over South Dakota State 4-3 before pulling away for a 9-1 triumph over host Indiana State in the nightcap.
In game one, junior Brandon Barker got the start for the Bears and was once again phenomenal on the mound. The Woodstock, Ga. native went six innings and allowed two earned runs on six hits while striking out six.
Junior Nick Backlund led Mercer offensively going 1-for-5 with an RBI double and an RBI groundout, while junior Derrick Workman also had a hit and reached base on an error in the bottom of the ninth which allowed senior Logan Gaines to score the game-winning run.
Game two of the double-dip featured substantially more offense from Mercer and a dominant relief outing.
After starting pitcher Grant Papelian was pulled after 2.1 innings pitched, sophomore Ben Lumsden came on in relief and was almost perfect on the day. The Dallas, Ga. native threw 5.0 innings to pick up the win and allowed only three hits while striking out two.
Four Bears had multi-hit efforts in the nightcap paced by Backlund, who went 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Gaines had the biggest hit of the day when he clubbed a grand slam in the top of the eighth to complete the scoring for the game at 9-1.
Due to heavy rain projected in the area on Sunday, Mercer will play another doubleheader tomorrow. The Bears will take on South Dakota State at 11:00 a.m. and conclude its Midwest trip with a nightcap against Indiana State at 6:00 p.m.