MACON, Ga. – After a nine-day lay-off due to final exams, the No. 21 Mercer baseball team showed no signs of rust in a dominant 11-1 win over Belmont on Tuesday evening at Claude Smith Field.
Mercer (37-12) has now won five games in a row and tied the program record for most regular season wins, with 37, that it just set last season in 2012.
The Bears committed zero errors once again on Tuesday night for the 25th time this season to improve their team fielding percentage up to .982, which if the season ended today would shatter the all-time Atlantic Sun Conference record of .978 set by Nicholls State in 1980.
Mercer showed off some of that stellar defense in the top of the second inning when junior Derrick Workman caught a fly ball in right field and fired a laser to third base to nail a Belmont base runner trying to advance to end the scoring threat and keep the game knotted at 0-0.
The Bears capitalized on the momentum in the bottom half of the frame when senior Evan Boyd collected the first of his three hits on the evening with an RBI single to center to give Mercer a 1-0 lead.
Things started to really click from there for the Mercer offense as senior Logan Gaines extended the Bears lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the third when he connected on a three-run home run that caromed off the scoreboard in left centerfield.
With the score 9-0 starting the bottom of the seventh inning, an RBI double by sophomore Chesny Young and an RBI single by Gaines made the score 11-1 Mercer and halted the game right there due to a predetermined 10-run mercy rule.
Young had a solid day to lead a 13-hit Mercer attack by going 3-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI to extend his hitting streak to a career-long 18 games. Junior Sasha LaGarde also excelled in his lead-off spot in the Bears win, going 3-for-4 with three runs scored, an RBI and a stolen base.
Senior David Randall picked up the win by throwing two scoreless innings of relief to improve his record up to 2-0 this season. Sophomore Ben Lumsden probably had the best day of all Mercer hurlers, throwing three scoreless frames to go along with three strikeouts to secure the Bears victory.
Mercer wraps up its two-game mid-week series with Belmont tomorrow afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Claude Smith Field.