MACON, Ga. – The No. 21 Mercer baseball team received 6.2 scoreless inning on the mound from DJ Johnson and solo home runs from Travis Benn and Nick Backlund at the plate to earn a series clinching 2-0 win over East Tennessee State on Sunday afternoon at Claude Smith Field.
With today's win, Mercer (39-14, 17-7 A-Sun) is now tied with the 2011 and 1981 editions of the Bears for the most wins in a single-season in program history. More importantly, with Sunday's win and a loss by North Florida, Mercer sits alone in first place in the Atlantic Sun Conference standings with just three games left in the 2013 regular season.
The Bears started the scoring off in the bottom of the third inning when Benn hit a breaking ball over the fence in left field and into the scoreboard for his fourth home run of the season to give Mercer a 1-0 lead.
The Orange and Black continued to use the long ball to their advantage just an inning later when Backlund crushed a hanging change-up by ETSU starter Jimmy Nesselt for his A-Sun Conference leading 13th home run of the season to put Mercer ahead 2-0.
That would be plenty of run support for Johnson who had all his pitches working on Sunday afternoon. The Adel, Ga. native ended up going 6.2 innings and allowed no runs on just five hits while tying his career-high with eight strikeouts to earn his sixth win of 2013.
Sophomore Chesny Young had a relatively quiet afternoon for the Bears, but collected a single in the bottom of the seventh inning to extend his hitting streak to a career-long 22 games.
The win was fitting for Mercer as it honored its six-member senior class of Benn, Evan Boyd, David Teasley, David Randall, David Reid-Foley and Logan Gaines before the game. This group became the winningest senior class in program history earlier in the season and has now won a remarkable 154 games over the past four campaigns.
Mercer closes out its 2013 regular season with a chance to win its first Atlantic Sun Conference Regular Season Title in program history when it travels to Northern Kentucky for a three-game series beginning on May 16. First pitch on Thursday afternoon is scheduled for 3 p.m. at Bill Aker Baseball Complex