Mercer Equals Best Start Since 1970 with 8-5 Win
MACON, Ga. – The Mercer baseball team is now 6-0 on the young 2014 season and is tied for the second-best start in program history following an 8-5 win over Evansville on Friday evening at Claude Smith Field.
Mercer (6-0) also started a campaign with six-straight wins back in 2001 and 2005 and is now chasing after the 1970 edition of the Bears who won eight-straight games to start their season.
The Bears join Oklahoma State, UAB and FIU as the only four teams in the country to have a perfect 6-0 record.
After both teams put up zeros over the first two innings of play, Mercer finally got to Evansville ace and Preseason All-American Kyle Freeland in the bottom of the third thanks to some sloppy defense by the Purple Aces. The Bears were the beneficiary of four Evansville errors in the frame that helped plate three runs to give the home team a 3-0 lead.
After Evansville pushed across a pair of runs in the top of the fourth, Mercer went back to work against Freeland in the bottom half of the frame. A two-RBI single by senior Sasha LaGarde and an RBI single by junior Chesny Young put the Bears comfortably ahead, at 6-2.
The Purple Aces tried to rally late with a pair of runs in the top of the ninth, but junior Morgan Pittman came on to get the final two outs of the ballgame to secure the win for the Bears.
Senior Brandon Barker put together another solid start for Mercer, allowing two earned runs on seven hits to go along with five strikeouts in five innings pitched to pick up the win.
LaGarde was one of three Bears with multi-hit days at the dish, finishing 2-for-5 with two runs scored.
Mercer continues its series with Evansville tomorrow afternoon with a 2 p.m. first pitch at Claude Smith Field.