JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Mercer baseball team used a five-run ninth inning to pull off a 6-3 comeback win and Atlantic Sun Conference series sweep over Jacksonville on Sunday afternoon at John Sessions Stadium.
Mercer is now 19-6 overall and moves to 5-1 in A-Sun Conference play, which ties its best start in league play since the 2006 edition of the Bears also started 5-1.
Junior Ben Lumsden picked up the win to even up his record at 2-2 after throwing two innings of scoreless relief to close out the game.
Jacksonville drew first blood in the contest in the bottom of the first inning as a sacrifice fly by junior Angelo Amendolare pushed the Dolphins out to an early 1-0 lead.
With the score 2-0 in the top of the third, junior Chesny Young sliced a double to right center with two outs and was promptly driven in with an RBI single by senior Nick Backlund to make the score 2-1.
The Dolphins pushed their lead back up to a pair of runs after a perfect suicide squeeze bunt by sophomore Michael Babb in the bottom of the fifth made the score 3-1.
That looked to be plenty of run support for Jacksonville starter Justin Russell, who went eight innings and allowed just two runs on seven hits to go along with six strikeouts to completely shut down the Bears offense.
The Mercer bats finally came to life though against the Jacksonville bullpen in the top of the ninth inning, plating five runs off a pair of Dolphins relievers. Senior Derrick Workman started the rally with an RBI single to make the score 3-2 and was followed by junior Nate Moorhouse who delivered an RBI single of his own to tie things up at 3-3. Freshman Howard Joe completed the Bears rally when he stepped in and crushed a pinch hit three-run home run to left field to give Mercer a 6-3 win.
Workman and Moorhouse paced the Bears lineup by each finishing 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run scored.
Mercer is back in action on March 25 when it travels to Atlanta for a showdown with in-state rival Georgia Tech. Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Russ Chandler Stadium.