MACON, Ga. – Senior Sasha LaGarde connected on a grand slam in the bottom of the sixth inning to send the Mercer baseball team on its way to a historic 5-4 win over Savannah State on Tuesday evening at Claude Smith Field.
With tonight's victory, Mercer (9-0) set a new program record with nine-straight wins to start a season, breaking the old mark of eight-straight set back in 1970.
The Bears are also joined by Florida International as the only teams in the nation with perfect 9-0 records through the first two weeks of the 2014 campaign.
Senior Stephen Glaze picked up the win, his team leading third of the season, after tossing 2.2 innings of scoreless relief.
Things didn't look good for Mercer to start as Savannah State come out aggressive with the bats in the early innings. The Tigers plated a run in the top of the second thanks to an RBI single by Aaron Hoffer to go up 1-0.
Savannah State increased its lead up to 4-0 in the top of the fifth after an RBI single by Mendez Elder and a two-RBI double from Lee Moore to chase Mercer starter Ryan Askew.
The Bears slowly started to climb their way back into it, however, using a solo home run by senior Nick Backlund in the bottom half of the fifth to make the score 4-1.
Backlund's home run set the stage for LaGarde's heroics in the bottom of the sixth when he came up to bat with the bases loaded after a single from freshman Charlie Madden and walks by junior Devin Bonin and freshman Danny Edgeworth. LaGarde, the reigning Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Week, turned on a 0-1 pitch and launched a grand slam over the wall in right center to give Mercer its first lead of the game, at 5-4.
The Mercer bullpen took over from there, as senior Ben Lumsden came on and pitched 1.1 innings of scoreless relief to secure the win and pick up his A-Sun leading third save of the season.
LaGarde finished 2-for-3 with a career-high four RBI in the win. The Montreal, Quebec native now leads the A-Sun Conference with five home runs and 16 RBI thus far in 2014.
Mercer wraps up a season-opening 10-game homestand tomorrow afternoon against in-state rival Georgia Southern. First pitch on Wednesday is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Claude Smith Field.