MACON, Ga. – Junior Brandon Barker tied a career-high with nine strikeouts on the mound to lead the No. 24 Mercer baseball team to a 5-2 win over Lipscomb on Saturday afternoon at Claude Smith Field.
Mercer (32-10, 12-5 A-Sun) has now won seven games in a row and its 32 overall wins ranks tied for sixth in the nation thus far in the 2013 campaign.
Barker was the story of the day for the Bears, however, as he allowed only two runs on five hits to go along with nine strikeouts to move his record up to a sparkling 5-0 on the season.
The Orange and Black got things going in the top of the second inning with a pair of runs thanks to an RBI groundout by junior Austin Barrett and an RBI single by classmate Michael Massi to make the score 2-0.
After Lipscomb cut Mercer's lead down to 3-2, the home team received a pair of clutch hits in back-to-back innings to put the game away. A two-out RBI single by senior David Reid-Foley in the bottom of the fifth and a solo home run, the Bears nation leading 44th of the season, by junior Sasha LaGarde in the bottom of the sixth put Mercer ahead to stay, at 5-2.
Junior Stephen Glaze followed Barker on the mound with two scoreless innings of work and sophomore Dimitri Kourtis came on to pitch a scoreless ninth to record his Atlantic Sun Conference leading seventh save of the season.
Junior Nick Backlund finished 2-for-5 with a pair of runs scored to pace the Mercer offense while sophomore Chensy Young went 2-for-3 in the game to push his season hits total up to 69, which is tied with two other players for the most hits in the country this season.
Mercer tries to go for the three-game series sweep of Lipscomb tomorrow afternoon. First pitch on Sunday is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Claude Smith Field.