Bears Hope to End Season on High Note at Kennesaw State
MERCER (24-26, 5-11 A-Sun) vs. KENNESAW ST. (28-22, 12-4 A-Sun) - Saturday April 28, 2 and 4 p.m.
MACON, Ga. – What a difference two weeks makes. On April 7, the Mercer softball team stood atop the Atlantic Sun standings at 5-2 in league play and looked poised to capture a spot in the A-Sun Conference Tournament.
Flash forward two weeks and the Bears have dropped 11 straight and look to at least get back to .500 with a pair of wins Saturday at in-state rival Kennesaw State. Mercer was swept in its mid-week doubleheader at South Alabama on Wednesday and will look to play the role of spoiler as Kennesaw St. is jockeying for the top seed heading into the A-Sun Tournament.
By virtue of the late season slump, the Bears have been ruled out as one of six teams to qualify for the conference tournament for just the second time in the last seven seasons. However, the Bears still have a lot to play for on Saturday against their bitter rivals.
LAST TIME OUT
MOBILE, Ala. – Sophomore McKenzie Woody broke the Bears' single season hit record on Wednesday afternoon, but the historic day was somewhat overshadowed as the Mercer softball team dropped a mid-week doubleheader at South Alabama.
Woody came into the day with 70 total hits on the year, which was tied for the record set back in 2008 by Jamie Madruga. In the top of the third inning, Woody laid down her patented slap infield hit and was able to beat out the throw at first to capture sole possession of the record.
Unfortunately, the hits would come far and few between as Mercer dropped both games to extend its current losing streak to 11 games. The Bears fell in game one by a 3-0 decision and then failed to maintain an early lead in game two to lose 3-1.
The current losing streak is a season long and longest since a 14-game losing streak set back in 2007.
SCOUTING THE OWLS
The Owls come into Saturday's doubleheader tied atop the current A-Sun standings alongside FGCU with a 12-4 conference mark. The Bears and Owls have split the season series over the last two seasons with Mercer taking the sweep last year in Macon, but falling in both games two years at KSU.
Kennesaw St. ranks below the Bears in both team batting and team pitching in the A-Sun, yet carry a 28-22 overall record and have won five of their last six in league play. The Owls are led by a trio of potent offensive threats in Jessica Cross, Lindsey Vollmer and Sharon Swanson. The trio has accounted for nearly 70 percent of the Owls home runs this season and over 50 percent of the teams total RBI. Swanson leads the A-Sun with 15 home runs and is fourth in RBI with 37 on the year.
Inside the circle, the Owls are led by Amanda Henderson who has posted a 1.89 ERA with a 13-7 overall record. Henderson has thrown 13 complete games and managed four saves to go along with 185 strikeouts in 133 innings pitched this year.