Softball Stumbles Again, Drop Two at KSU Classic
WOODSTOCK, Ga. – The Mercer softball team stumbled for a second day in a row, first failing to hold onto a lead against Miami(OH) and then unable to keep up with Southern Illinois on the final day of the Kennesaw St. Classic on Sunday.
The Bears (0-4, 0-0 A-Sun) allowed nine runs in the final three innings in a 11-4 loss to Miami(OH) and then gave up a 10-4 advantage to Southern Illinois in game two. It was the third time in the first three games that the Bears have allowed double-digit runs.
Mercer, for the second-straight day, jumped out to an early lead in their first game of the day but couldn't hang on for the win. Yesterday it was Austin Peay coming from behind for the win and Sunday it was Miami(OH) that foiled the Bears' chances for a first win of the season.
In the top of the first, senior outfielder Tiffany Phillips got the Bears on the board when she hit her second home run in as many days, a three-run shot to center field. The Red Hawks were able to get two back in the bottom half of the inning when Daniela Torres laced a two-run home run over the center field wall.
Phillips finished the game going 2-for-4 with a team-high three RBI. Already this season Phillips is 6-of-12 with two home runs and 5 RBI.
Bailey received the start inside the circle for the Bears in game one and had a two run advantage going into the bottom of the fifth. She was able to record the innings first out and then was relieved by junior Kari Nidiffer. Nidiffer walked a batter, gave up two RBI singles and a Mercer throwing error accounted for five Red Hawk runs in the fifth.
Heading into the sixth, Mercer saw their lead collapse and trailed 8-4. Red Hawks pitcher Jessica Simpson was then able to close out the game without giving up a hit in the final two innings.
In game two against Southern Illinois, the Bears were again the first team to score when Phillips tallied her fourth RBI of the day driving in sophomore McKenzie Woody from third in the top of the first. Mercer added a second run in the inning as senior Sara Stukes stroked an RBI single to score Strange.
Mercer's lead didn't last as long as a potent Saluki offense jumped on Nidiffer who got the start in game two. Southern Illinois generated five runs off six hits in the first off Nidiffer. That was all that the Salukis needed as the Bears would get just two more runs in the game.
Southern Illinois added two insurance runs to take a 7-2 going into the top of the fourth. Mercer however got back within three when Bailey hit her first home run of the season, bringing home freshman catcher Molly Garmany in the process.
The Bears could get no closer however as Southern Illinois tagged Mercer pitchers for 12 hits in the game.
Woody finished leading the Bears going 2-for-3 from her leadoff position in game two.
The Bears continue their travels to start the season by heading to Tallahassee, Fla. next week for a three-day tournament at Florida St.