MACON, Ga. – In his first collegiate start, freshman Austin Lord allowed no runs in seven innings pitched to lift the Mercer baseball team to a 5-0 win over Butler on Wednesday afternoon at Claude Smith Field.
Mercer (14-5) now has two shutout victories already in 2014 after blanking Florida A&M 3-0 in Tallahassee on March 4.
Lord set new career-highs with his three strikeouts and seven innings pitched, tying fellow freshman Ryan Askew (7.0 innings pitched at Florida A&M on March 4) for the longest outing by a Mercer pitcher this season.
The Bears got on the board first in the bottom of the first when a pair of errors by the Butler shortstop allowed a run to come across the plate to give Mercer an early 1-0 lead.
Mercer threatened for more with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth, but had to settle for just one run on a passed ball to make the score 2-0.
The Orange and Black finally broke it open in the bottom of the seventh when Sasha LaGarde collected an RBI on a beautiful drag bunt and freshman Kyle Lewis followed two batters later with a two-RBI single of his own to make the score 5-0.
That was plenty of support for Lord, who surrendered only three hits and needed just 72 pitches to get through his seven innings of work.
LaGarde finished the game going 2-for-4 with two runs scored while senior Michael Massi finished 1-for-3 with two runs scored and two stolen bases.
Mercer starts Atlantic Sun Conference play next time out when it welcomes Kennesaw State into town for a three-game series starting on March 14. First pitch in Friday night is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Claude Smith Field.