MACON, Ga. – With the Mercer baseball team playing perhaps its best baseball of the 2013 season to date, head coach Craig Gibson stole some of the limelight on Friday evening when he reached career win No. 300 after the Bears took down Jacksonville 6-1 at Claude Smith Field.
Mercer's (23-7, 6-2 A-Sun) fifth-straight win pushed Gibson's career record up to 300-240 in his 10 years at the helm of the Bears and makes him just the third head coach to tally at least 300 career wins in the 64-year modern history of the Mercer baseball program. Gibson's 300th win tonight also gives him the distinction of leading Mercer to its best 30-game start in program history, tying the 1979 edition of the Bears who also started their campaign with a 23-7 record.
Friday night's win ensures that Mercer secures its series with Jacksonville (9-18, 2-3 A-Sun) this weekend and keeps its streak alive of not losing a weekend series yet this season.
The Bears got things started in the bottom of the second when junior Austin Barrett ripped an RBI single to give Mercer a 1-0 lead.
After both teams starters put up zeros over the next two frames, the Orange and Black put the game away in the middle innings of the contest with a pair of two-run rallies.
A sacrifice fly by junior Derrick Workman and an RBI single by Michael Massi in the fifth and an RBI single by sophomore Chesny Young and a sacrifice fly by Workman in the sixth pushed Mercer's lead up to 5-1.
That would be plenty of run support for Bears starting pitcher Brandon Barker, who tied his season-high by throwing seven innings and allowed no earned runs on just three hits while striking out eight to pick up his third win of 2013.
Five Bears finished the contest with multi-hit efforts, including Massi who went 2-for-3 with a run scored and junior Sasha LaGarde who ended up going 2-for-5 with two runs scored and a stolen base in the win.
Mercer is back on the field tomorrow afternoon to wrap up its three-game series against Jacksonville. Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Claude Smith Field.