FORT MYERS, Fla. – Junior Grant Papelian put together the best start of his career to lift the Mercer baseball team to a 4-0 win over Florida Gulf Coast on Saturday afternoon at Swanson Stadium.
Mercer (33-11, 15-5 A-Sun) increased its lead over Florida Gulf Coast (28-16, 12-5 A-Sun) back up to a game and a half in the Atlantic Sun Conference standings with Saturday's win.
Papelian was brilliant all afternoon long for the Bears, throwing his first career complete game after allowing no runs on just five hits to go along with two strikeouts to improve his record up to 5-2 this season.
Papelian's complete game is now the A-Sun leading sixth of the season for Mercer, which is the most in a single-season for the Orange and Black since the 2005 edition of the Bears also hurled six complete games.
Mercer jumped on the scoreboard as soon as possible in the top of the first inning as senior Michael Massi started the game with a lead-off home run, his fourth long ball of the season, to give the Bears a 1-0 lead.
Massi was right in the middle of the action again in the top of the third when his double was followed up by an RBI groundout by junior Chesny Young to push Mercer out to a 2-0 advantage over FGCU.
The Bears worked some two out magic to increase their lead over the Eagles in the top of the fifth. A walk by senior Nick Backlund, a double by freshman Charlie Madden and a two-RBI single up the middle by senior Derrick Workman, all with two outs, made the score 4-0 in favor of Mercer.
That would be more than enough run support for Papelian as the Marietta, Ga. native retired 15 out of the final 18 batters of the game to secure the win.
Massi booked his second three-hit game in as many days by going 3-for-4 while Workman and junior Devin Bonin each finished 2-for-4 in the victory.
Mercer and Florida Gulf Coast conclude its three-game series with a 1 p.m. start time tomorrow afternoon at Swanson Stadium.