JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – The Mercer baseball team concluded the 2014 regular season in style by belting out 17 hits and receiving a strong outing on the mound from junior Eric Nyquist to earn an 8-1 win over East Tennessee State on Saturday afternoon at Thomas Stadium.
Mercer (38-15, 18-9 A-Sun) secured the No. 2 seed in next week's Atlantic Sun Conference Championship which will begin on May 21 in Fort Myers, Fla. on the campus of Florida Gulf Coast.
After both teams failed to plate a run over the first three innings of play, ETSU broke up the scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth. A solo home run by senior Clinton Freeman gave the Buccaneers a 1-0 lead.
Mercer came back with an answer in the top of the fifth though as senior Sasha LaGarde and Young put together back-to-back two-out RBI singles to give the Bears a 2-1 advantage.
The Bears bats continued to produce in the top of the sixth when senior Derrick Workman hit a two-run home run, the 30th home run of his career and third long ball in his last four games, to give Mercer a 4-1 lead.
Mercer continued to use the long ball in the top of the seventh when senior Nick Backlund got into the act with a two-run bomb to make the score 6-1 Bears. The home run was the 37th of Backlund's career which is tied for the fourth-most amongst all active players in the NCAA and is the 28th-most in A-Sun Conference history.
That would be more than enough run support for Nyquist who went seven innings and allowed just one run on three hits to go along with five strikeouts to earn the win and improve his record to 8-1 on the season.
Senior Michael Massi went 1-for-5 with a single in the contest to extend his reached base consecutively streak up to 28-straight games.
Mercer is back in action when it faces off against No. 7 seed Stetson in the opening round of the A-Sun Championship on May 21 at 1:15 pm at Swanson Stadium.