MACON, Ga. – Despite a two-hour rain delay and in-game conditions that were far from ideal, the No. 24 Mercer baseball team used a balanced offensive attack to persevere in the form of a 7-4 series opening victory over Lipscomb on Friday evening at Claude Smith Field.
Mercer (31-10, 11-5 A-Sun) is now on a six-game winning streak, its second longest of the season, and has won nine out of its last 10 contests at the friendly confines of Claude Smith Field.
Friday night's win was also a milestone one for the four four-year seniors (David Randall, Evan Boyd, David Teasley and Travis Benn) on this year's club. Friday night's victory was the 146th the quartet has been a part of during their four-year stay here in Macon, making the foursome the winningest senior class in Mercer baseball program history.
With steady rain coming down to begin the game, the Mercer offense took a little while to get acclimated to the conditions and Lipscomb starting pitcher Josh Cotham. The Bears finally broke through in the bottom of the third after junior Nick Backlund crushed a two-run home run, his Atlantic Sun Conference leading ninth of the season, to left field to give the home team a 2-1 lead.
Reigning A-Sun Conference Player of the Week Chesny Young doubled Mercer's run tally in the bottom of the fourth when he sliced a two-RBI single to right center to make the score 4-1.
After Lipscomb cut the Bears lead down to just 4-3, Mercer put the game out of reach with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth. A sacrifice fly by Backlund and an RBI single by Boyd gave the Orange and Black a 6-4 cushion.
Sophomore Dimitri Kourtis did the rest, recording the final five outs of the game as the clock approached midnight to pick up his sixth save of the season.
Teasley picked up the win, his team-leading seventh of the season, after allowing one run while striking out three in 1.1 innings of work.
Backlund went 2-for-3 and tied his season-high with four RBI while Young did a little bit of everything of Friday night, finishing a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate to go with two RBI, two runs scored and a stolen base in the win.
Mercer returns to the diamond tomorrow afternoon for game two of its series against Lipscomb. Game time is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Claude Smith Field.