Late Offensive Surge Lifts Mercer to 10-2 Win over Florida A&M
MACON, Ga. – The Mercer baseball team distanced themselves from a pesky Florida A&M squad with a five-run sixth inning on its way to a 10-2 triumph on Wednesday evening at Claude Smith Field.
Mercer (5-0) has now started a season with five-straight wins for the first time since the 2005 edition of the Bears started their campaign with a 6-0 record.
Four Bears had multi-hit games in the win led by senior Nick Backlund who went 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored.
Backlund got the home team off to a quick start in the bottom of the first when he launched a two-run home run off Florida A&M starter Javon Johnakin to put Mercer in front 2-1.
The Bears added two more runs in the bottom of the second after freshman Howard Joe belted a solo home run, the first home run of his career, and classmate Danny Edgeworth followed with an RBI single to make the score 4-1 Mercer.
The score would stay at 4-2 in favor of Mercer over the next few innings as both team's bullpens settled things down.
The Bears didn't stay quiet for long, however, as a five-run bottom of the sixth completely changed the complexion of the contest. All with two outs, Mercer received RBI singles from Joe, Bonin, freshman Kyle Lewis and senior Sasha LaGarde and an RBI double from freshman Nathaniel Lowe to take a commanding 9-2 lead over the Rattlers.
The Mercer bullpen would do the rest from there, hurling three scoreless innings of relief to close out the win.
Freshman Bryce Conley threw 3.2 innings and allowed two runs on three hits in his first collegiate start.
Junior Morgan Pittman picked up the win by tossing 3.1 shutout innings of relief and struck out three batters as well.
Mercer now shifts its attention to the weekend when it welcomes Evansville into town for a three-game set starting on February 21. Game one of the series is set for a 4 p.m. first pitch on Friday night at Claude Smith Field.