MACON, Ga. – With more than 20 Major League Baseball scouts in attendance, the Mercer baseball team flexed its muscles against one of the best pitchers in the country to the tune of a 13-5 series opening win over Jacksonville on Thursday evening at Claude Smith Field.
For the second-straight night, Mercer (22-7, 5-2 A-Sun) bashed four home runs in the contest, but Thursday night's effort was so impressive considering who all the offense was coming against.
Jacksonville (9-17, 2-2 A-Sun) started junior ace Chris Anderson, who came into the contest considered as one of the top three pitchers in all of college baseball. The Bears rocked Anderson, who hadn't allowed a single home run all season, for nine runs on 11 hits and four home runs to run away with the win.
After Jacksonville scored a pair of runs in the top of the first inning, Mercer came back with two tallies of its own in the bottom half of the frame. Junior Derrick Workman started the home run barrage for the Bears when he lifted a two-run round-tripper to left field to tie things up at 2-2.
Junior Nick Backlund followed Workman's lead when he crushed a three-run long ball in the bottom of the third off Anderson to push Mercer's advantage up to a 6-3 margin.
Senior David Reid-Foley and junior Austin Barrett closed out the home run bombardment to secure the Bears win when Foley hit a two-run shot in the sixth and Barrett touched them all with a grand slam in the seventh to make the final score 13-5.
Backlund and Barrett each finished the game going 2-for-4 with two runs scored and four RBI while Workman went 2-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored in the win.
Senior David Teasley earned the win for Mercer by coming out of the bullpen and throwing 3.2 scoreless innings of relief to go along with a season-high six strikeouts.
Mercer is back on the field tomorrow evening for game two of its series against Jacksonville. Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Claude Smith Field.