Mercer Cluster

Baseball collects big win over Georgia Tech, drops three against Jacksonville

(photo courtesy of Mercer Bears.com ) Freshman second baseman DJ Johnson broke out of a recent slump, fueling Mercer’s powerful offense with a 4-for-5 effort in a 16-5 rout of Campbell in the opening game of the series in Buies Creek. The Bears now hold a 22-13 record with one month left in play.

(photo courtesy of Mercer Bears.com ) Freshman second baseman DJ Johnson broke out of a recent slump, fueling Mercer’s powerful offense with a 4-for-5 effort in a 16-5 rout of Campbell in the opening game of the series in Buies Creek. The Bears now hold a 22-13 record with one month left in play.

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(photo courtesy of Mercer Bears.com ) Freshman second baseman DJ Johnson broke out of a recent slump, fueling Mercer’s powerful offense with a 4-for-5 effort in a 16-5 rout of Campbell in the opening game of the series in Buies Creek. The Bears now hold a 22-13 record with one month left in play.

The Bears are still within the thick of the conference standings in 7th at 8-9, boasting the 4th best overall record of 22-13, but if MU hopes to repeat its title run in 2011 they’ll have to gain ground in the conferences standings this month as they travel to UNF, USC Upstate and Kennesaw State while hosting Lipscomb and ETSU.

Mercer 4, #6 Georgia Tech 2
In a rematch of last year’s NCAA regionals, Georgia Tech looked primed for yet another victory as they scored in the bottom of the first off of an RBI double to right-center, courtesy of Yellow Jacket Matt Skole. Mercer pitcher Justice French would allow another run in the fourth inning, exiting the game by only giving up two earned runs on six hits in 3.2 innings.
The Bears started their offensive effort in the fifth inning when Derrick Workman’s RBI single would cut the lead in half. A bunt from Billy Burns in the seventh would score the ever speedy Evan Boyd to tie, and in the top of the eighth Boyd would score two with a double to right field to seal the game. Relief pitcher Russell Moses would keep Tech at bay for the rest of the contest, throwing 5.1 shutout innings to give Mercer the big victory.
“Just a great win for our program over a great team and I am so proud of how tough our guys played tonight,” said head coach Craig Gibson following the win. “Justice [French] and Russell [Moses] are two great seniors that pitched well for us tonight and Evan Boyd picked us up late with a big two-out hit. I hope we can carry this momentum forward for the rest of the season. We want to play on this field one more time this season because the way Georgia Tech is going they are on track to host another NCAA regional,” he added.

Mercer 16, Campbell 5
Traveling to Buies Creek is never an easy road trip, but Mercer looked to dominate in the Friday night contest in a game of offense. Freshman DJ Johnson broke out of a recent slump to four hits as five Bears recorded a multi-hit game. Billy Burns, Jacob Tanis, John Moreland, Travis Benn, Thomas Carroll and Blaine Matthews would all collect two RBI on the night as the Mercer offense looked unstoppable. Pitcher Brandon Love (4-0) would pick up another win after throwing six innings, giving up three runs on seven hits.

Mercer 12, Campbell 3
The Bears used the long ball to come back to beat the Camels after falling behind 1-0 in the first inning. Blast-offs courtesy of Thomas Carroll, Jacob Tanis and Austin Barrett helped MU extend their lead over Campbell in the late goings of the contest, posting yet another conference win. Reliever David Teasley would take over for starter Matt McCall in the fifth inning, pitching the remaining of the game without giving up a run to take the win.

Mercer 9, Campbell 5
Finishing off the Camels in the three-game series, a trio of runs in the ninth inning gave Mercer the cushion needed to win against the pesky Camels. Campbell tied the game at 4-4 in the third inning when they started to figure out MU starter Justice French, but a solo home run from Thomas Carroll in sixth once again gave the Bears the lead. Derrick Workman capped Mercer’s offensive drive in the ninth with his own solo home run as Jacob Matthews would take the win on two innings of scoreless relief.

Georgia State 9, Mercer 4
Errors can be costly, as Mercer found out against the Panthers in a midweek game in Atlanta. Mercer would score first with a 2-0 lead from an RBI single off the bat of Jacob Tanis and RBI groundout from Thomas Carroll, but a Georgia State home run combined with a passed ball gave the Panthers a 4-2 lead midway.
The Panthers would only extend their lead for the remainder of the night as the orange and black’s offense was kept relatively quiet in the non-conference loss.

Mercer 14, Ga. Southern 1
Bouncing back from the loss at Panthersville, freshman pitcher Brandon Barker threw five innings of scoreless baseball in front of a large crowd at JI Clements Stadium to position the Bears for the win. Ending the Eagles’ seven-game winning streak, Mercer’s scoring started in the second inning when Joe Winker hit a bases-loaded RBI single to score two. Following a DJ Johnson single as well as a Billy Burns double, Mercer lead rose to 6-0 at the end of the second inning.
Mercer cruised to victory with a 13-0 advantage after six innings, giving Barker his third win of the year in a rout.
“We just came out with a good energy tonight and elevated our level of play after a disappointing effort last night at Georgia State,” Gibson said in the postgame interview on MercerBears.com. “It is always important to get these big mid-week games,” he added.

Jacksonville 7, Mercer 6
Fielding again bit the Bears in the behind as six unearned runs for Jacksonville proved costly in the one-run victory for the Dolphins. A pair of errors in the fifth would bring up JU’s Dan Gulbransen to crush a grand slam to tie the game at 6-6. JU would again score in the seventh when Jonathan Murphy reached base after striking out (due to a passed ball), later scoring on an RBI single to give the Dolphins the late win. Unfortunately, senior John Moreland’s two home runs and three RBI were for naught as the Bears dropped to 0-6 in one-run games this season.

Jacksonville 9, Mercer 6
Chicks dig the long ball at JU as the dolphins crushed fifteen hits and three home runs on the way to cruising to victory. Knocking starter Matt McCall out of the game after only four innings, the damage was complete early as JU’s Kevin Lehane (3-4, 1 RBI) would lead the way from the plate. Mercer’s Travis Benn and Austin Barrett would respond with their own home runs, but the effort was too little too late in the Saturday contest.

Jacksonville 6, Mercer 5
Frustration summed up the series for the Bears as they lost yet another one-run game in extra innings. Despite having the winning run on third in the bottom of the ninth, Mercer failed to capitalize against JU’s Chris Anderson, who picked up the victory after three shutout innings. The Bears started out on the right track with a 4-0 lead after five innings, but the Dolphins tied the game in the seventh before scoring the sixth run in the top of the tenth. Thomas Carroll would finish the day 3 for 4 with a triple and an RBI to lead the way for Mercer.

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Baseball collects big win over Georgia Tech, drops three against Jacksonville