MACON, Ga. (May 11, 2013) – A night after fans were treated to an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel, Mercer and ETSU combined for 19 runs on 24 hits, but the 21st-ranked Bears came out ahead to even the series with a 12-7 victory over the Bucs on Saturday night at Claude Smith Field.
On Friday, both teams combined for 10 hits, while the Blue and Gold scored the only run behind Kerry Doane’s (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) fourth shutout, but Saturday’s game saw an abundance of offense and ten total pitchers account for 14 walks and six wild pitches.
Three of ETSU’s seven walks allowed came in a six-run second inning, which the Bears used to gain momentum as Mercer pushed runs across the plate in each of the next four innings to pull away for the victory. Junior Logan Rice (Erwin, Tenn.) suffered his second straight loss (5-3) after being charged for six runs on three hits and three walks in two innings of work. Mercer’s Ben Lumsden improved to 4-2 despite allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits, while striking out four in 3.2 innings out of the bullpen.
Four different Mercer hitters finished with multi-hit efforts as Chesny Young went 3-for-5 with two doubles, two runs scored and two RBI to extend his hitting streak to 21 straight games. Leadoff hitter Sasha Lagarde finished with two hits and two runs scored, while Logan Gaines added two doubles and two RBI in the winning effort.
Meanwhile, the Bucs also had four players generate multi-hit games as Dylan Tritsch (Boca Raton, Fla.), Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.), Kevin Phillips (St. Louis, Mo.), and Derek Niesman (Wellington, Fla.) all ended with two hits each. Phillips also drove in two runs with a single in the third, while Niesman extended his hitting streak to eight straight games and Andrew Green (Powell, Tenn.) has now reached base safely in 15 consecutive contests following his RBI single in a three-run sixth inning.
The Bucs (29-21, 14-9 A-Sun) look to bounce back in the win column and win their ninth series of the season as Sunday’s rubber match is set for 1 p.m. Mercer (38-14, 16-7) snapped its two-game skid and moved back into a tie for first-place in the A-Sun standings after North Florida suffered a 7-5 setback to Florida Gulf Coast earlier in the day down in Jacksonville.
After both teams were sent down in order to start the first, ETSU loaded the bases in the second inning, but starter David Randall worked out of the jam by forcing Alex Reynolds (Johnson City, Tenn.) to fly out to shallow left and Chris Riopedre (Miami, Fla.) hit into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
From there, Mercer took all the wind out of the Buccaneer sails by scoring six runs on three hits in the bottom of the second to take a 6-0 advantage. Rice began the inning by getting Gaines to ground out to second; however, following the grounder, the junior right-hander saw the next six Bear hitters reach base (three singles, three walks) to break open the game.
For the second straight inning the Bucs loaded the bases, but this time around the Blue and Gold struck for three runs to cut their deficit in half, 6-3. Jeremy Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.) – who reached on a fielder’s choice – scored ETSU’s first run on a wild pitch by Randall, while Phillips’ two-out, two-run scoring single to right brought in Freeman and Tritsch to make it a three-run game.
Unfortunately, that’s as close as the Blue and Gold would get, as the Bears got one of those runs back on David Reid-Foley’s two-out RBI single in the bottom half of the third, while Mercer added two more runs in the fourth and fifth innings to extend its lead to, 11-3.
ETSU put up another three spot on the board in the sixth, but Mercer kept its scoring streak alive in the bottom of the frame when Michael Massi reached on a two-base fielding error by Reynolds and later scored on a wild pitch by Josh Jacques (Rollinsford, N.H.).
Despite holding Mercer scoreless in the seventh and eighth, the Bucs only managed to plate one run in the final three innings as Matt Sorrow (Griffin, Ga.) extended his hitting streak to six straight games when his RBI single in the seventh scored Reynolds to make it a 12-7 score. The Bears’ pitching staff retired eight of the final ten Buccaneer hitters following the RBI single to secure the five-run victory.
ETSU fans wanting to receive Buccaneer news, score updates, in-game promotions and much more sent to their mobile device can do so by signing up for “Buc Updates.” Click here to sign up today!
For more information on Buccaneer baseball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the baseball link.