DECATUR, Ga. – The Mercer baseball team needed over four hours, but eventually rallied for five runs in the 11th inning for a quality 9-4 mid-week victory over Georgia State on Tuesday evening at the GSU Baseball Complex.
Mercer (17-5) has now beaten Georgia State (14-7) four-straight times dating back to 2011 and improves to 3-0 in extra-inning games this season with the win.
Mercer lit up the scoreboard in its first at-bats in the top of the first inning when junior Michael Massi clubbed a solo home run and senior Travis Benn laced an RBI double to give the Bears an early 2-0 lead.
Massi continued to pace the Bears offense in the top of the second when he lifted a sacrifice fly to center field to score another run and push Mercer out to a 3-0 advantage over Georgia State.
Georgia State got on the board in the bottom of the third after an RBI groundout by junior Chad Prain made the score 3-1 Bears.
That is the way things would stay for a while as both teams starters, Georgia State's Nick Squeglia and Mercer's Dimitri Kourtis, matched zeros over the next two innings.
The Panthers would change all that in the top of the sixth when a Mercer error and a two-RBI single by sophomore Caden Bailey led to a three spot in the frame and a 4-3 lead for Georgia State.
The Bears came right back, however, using an RBI single by junior Nick Backlund in the top of the seventh to knot the score up at 4-4.
The game would remain tied at 4-4 as the contest moved into extra innings. It would take until the top of the 11th inning until Mercer finally broke up the tie game.
The Orange and Black rallied for five runs in the 11th highlighted by a two-RBI double by Backlund and an RBI single by senior David Reid-Foley to make the score 9-4.
That would be more than enough run support for sophomore reliever Morgan Pittman, who completed a dominant performance on the mound with a scoreless bottom of the 11th. Pittman ended up tying his career-high with five innings pitched and allowed no runs on just five hits while striking out seven to pick up his first win of the 2013 campaign.
Backlund spearheaded the Bears offense by going 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored while junior Sasha LaGarde finished 3-for-5 with two runs scored and a stolen base in the win.
Mercer concludes its mid-week home-and-home series with Georgia State on Wednesday evening. Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Claude Smith Field.