February 23, 2014

Mercer Ties Best Start in Program History with 6-5 Win

MACON, Ga. – The Mercer baseball team tied its best start to a season in program history following Sunday afternoon's series finale 6-5 comeback win over Evansville at Claude Smith Field.

 

Mercer (8-0) has won eight-straight games to start a season only one other time in program history, back when the 1970 edition of the Bears also started 8-0.

 

The Bears also join UAB and Florida International as the only three teams in the country to have perfect 8-0 records through the first two weekends of the season.

 

Sunday's contest didn't exactly start out the way the home crowd would have hoped, as Evansville jumped on Mercer starter Eric Nyquist for a pair of runs in the top of the first to take a 2-0 lead.

 

The Bears defense behind Nyquist was the problem in the top of the third, when a pair of errors in the infield led to another pair of runs to give the Purple Aces a 4-0 advantage.

 

Mercer didn't panic, however, and showed its poise thanks to a pair of veterans in the bottom half of the fourth. Seniors Michael Massi and Sasha LaGarde both launched home runs to highlight a four-run frame that tied things up between the Bears and Purple Aces, at 4-4.

 

Sensing momentum was on their side, Mercer took advantage in the bottom of the sixth with back-to-back RBI singles by LaGarde and junior Chesny Young to take its first lead of the game at 6-5.

 

The Mercer bullpen would do the rest from there as junior Morgan Pittman threw two scoreless innings of relief and was followed by classmate Ben Lumsden who pitched a scoreless ninth to record his second save of the season.

 

Nyquist delivered his second quality start of the season for Mercer, throwing a career-high six innings and allowing five runs, only two of which were earned, on six hits to earn the win.

 

Young tied his career-high in hits with a 4-for-5 day at the dish while LaGarde went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and three RBI.

 

Mercer looks to make history and start a season with nine-straight wins for the first time ever when it welcomes Savannah State into town on February 25. Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Claude Smith Field.