JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Apr. 20, 2012) – Starting Brandon Love allowed just seven hits and one run in 8.1 innings of work to lead the Mercer (24-16, 7-9 A-Sun) baseball team to a 3-1 victory over ETSU (16-20, 4-12 A-Sun) on Friday night at Thomas Stadium.
Love improved his record to 6-3 on the season as he walked two and struck out eight ETSU batters on the night. Love, who got the first out in the ninth inning, was replaced after throwing 133 total pitches. Dimitri Kourtis got the second out of the inning and Morgan Pittman came on to get the final out and earn his first save of the season.
Jake Long (Anderson, S.C.) (2-5) gave another solid outing, but once again did not get any run support. Long allowed just seven hits and three runs (two earned) in six innings. Long walked two and struck out six on the night.
Catcher Austin Barrett led the Bears at the plate with a 3-for-4 effort, while Evan Boyd and Chesny Young each had a hit.
ETSU senior Dylan Pratt (Johnson City, Tenn.) had the only Buccaneer multi-hit outing as he finished 2-for-4. Derek Niesman (Wellington, Fla.) had the only ETSU RBI on the night.
Mercer got on the scoreboard first in the top of the third inning as Boyd led off the frame with his fourth home run of the season.
ETSU tied the game in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a sacrifice fly by Niesman. Jordan Sanford (Powell, Tenn.) led off the inning with a walk. Mason Hershey (Altoona, Pa.), who was looking to sacrifice Sanford to second, dropped down a perfect bunt that the Mercer defense thought was going to roll foul, but it stopped right on the first base line for a single. After Andrew Green (Powell, Tenn.) laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners in scoring position, Niesman tied the score with a sacrifice fly to right center field.
The Bears regained the lead with a run on one hit and an ETSU error in the inning. Logan Gaines reached to start the inning on a dropped pop up by Long. After Barrett reached on an infield single, Derrick Workman moved the runners over with a sacrifice bunt for the first out of the inning. Nate Moorhouse followed with an RBI ground out to give Mercer the 2-1 lead.
Boyd led off the seventh inning with a base-hit to center field for his second hit of the ballgame. After ETSU brought freshman Kuehl McEachern (Mt. Dora, Fla.) into the game out of the bullpen, Young moved Boyd into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. With two-outs in the inning, Jamie McMillan laced an RBI single into right field to put the Bears in front 3-1.
The second game of the three-game series between ETSU and Mercer will begin at 2:05 p.m. The Bucs will send right-hander John Long (Anderson, S.C.) to oppose Mercer righty Dimitri Kourtis.
- Clinton Freeman has now reached base in 30 consecutive games after a base-hit in the first inning.
- Mercer has now won eight of the last 10 contests against ETSU
For more information on ETSU baseball, please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the baseball link.