After losing the back end of a doubleheader split on the road against Georgia State, Mercer softball found themselves still one game looking up at .500. The Bears returned home for a brief stint as they hit a stretch of seven games in six days.
Ga. Southern 2, Mercer 3
With a sixth-inning come-from-behind victory against their in-state rival Eagles, the Bears broke even at 12-12. Mercer trailed 2-0 entering the sixth frame before plating home three runs on two hits and a hit batter. Kristin Marko provided the game-tying two-run double while Sara Stukes knocked in the winning run with two outs on a single.
Ga. Southern 5, Mercer 2
The Bears would drop back below .500 with their sloppy play in game two of the home doubleheader. The game proved to be contradictory to game one as Mercer jumped out to an early 2-0 lead and watched the Eagles claw their way back to steal the victory. Georgia Southern plated home five runs through the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to solidify the win. Once again, the Bears only mustered three hits.
Mercer 8, St. Bonaventure 0
After their very brief stint at home, the Bears hit the road for the TSU Tiger Tournament in Nashville, Tenn. The 10 hits and eight runs in the win against the Bona Wolves would prove to be the start of an impressive stretch for the Bears. In the run-ruled game, senior Kassie Bailey surrendered all two hits in her four innings from the circle to even her record at 4-4 on the year. Five different Mercer batters knocked in at least one run for the Bears. The win pulled the Bears to 13-13 and slotted them at .500 for the fifth time this year.
Mercer 8, Miss. Valley 0
The Bears’ 8-0 win over Mississippi Valley marked a long list of firsts for Mercer this season. The Bears got over the .500 hump for the first time in their 27th game of the year. Mercer used another nine hits and stellar pitching performance from Jessica Holsinger in the five-inning route. Holsinger allowed just one hit and struck out eight in five innings of work. Sophomore McKenzie Woody went 3-for-3 with three runs batted in and two runs scored. Woody’s game also included her first career dinger on an inside-the-park three-run homerun in the second. The game also marked the Bears’ first back-to-back shutout victories of the season.
Mercer 6, Tennessee St. 5
In a game that had a combined 11 errors, 18 hits and 11 runs, the Bears survived a wild seven innings to beat Tennessee State in the second game of the afternoon doubleheader. The win capped their three-game sweep of the tournament in impressive fashion. With a 5-3 lead entering the final frame, the Bears surrendered two runs and went into the bottom of the inning tied 5-5. Fittingly so, with a runner on third and one out, the Bears would plate home the game-ending run off of TSU’s seventh error of the game.
Alabama St. 2, Mercer 3
In a game that included little offensive production from both squads, the Bears were able to squeak out a one-run, extra-inning win in their first game back home against the visiting Lady Hornets of Alabama State. Tied 0-0 after four, the Lady Hornets and Bears each plated home two runs in the fifth inning of the extra-inning affair. Each pitcher went the distance as the Bears would score on an error in the eighth to tally another victory in the win column. Holsinger was wild but effective in her eighth win of the season as she pitched eight innings while walking five and striking out seven. She threw 128 pitches.
Alabama St. 2, Mercer 6
Following their exciting win in game one, the Bears looked to complete their first doubleheader sweep of the season while extending their win-streak to a season-high five games. Mercer did just that in their four-run win over the Lady Hornets. The Bears had a handle on the game from the onset. With a 5-0 lead after three, Mercer pitcher Kassie Bailey cruised to her fifth win of the season. Providing production from both the circle and the batter’s box, Bailey allowed just two hits and two runs while driving in three runs of her own.
Mercer 4, FAMU 3
The Bears give the impression that they won’t lose another game. Even when it seems like they are down and out, they come from behind with production from their starters, bullpen and even bench players. Trailing 2-1 in the seventh with their five-game win streak on the line, pinch-hitting senior Lilli Luke stepped into the plate and promptly belted a three-run homerun en route to an eventual 4-3 nail-biter win.
Mercer 10, FAMU 1
Using the momentum of their first game of the Saturday doubleheader, the Bears compiled 11 hits in an error-free ballgame to run-rule the home team Rattlers of Florida A&M. With a balanced offensive attack, Mercer used hits from eight different players to score 10 runs through the first four innings. Sarah Santana went 2-for-4 with four runs batted in. Santana’s two-run shot in the first marked her team-leading sixth homerun and 23rd RBI of the season.
With the recent doubleheader sweep of Florida A&M, the Bears have stretched their win streak to seven on the years. The Bears are outscoring their opponents 45-13 over that stretch. After beginning the year at 0-6, Mercer has gone 19-7 since Feb. 18. They are an impressive 15-5 away from Sikes Field over that same time.
“As a team, we wanted to be playing well going into conference. I think our focus and poise has improved greatly over the last few weeks. We want to win each pitch, win every inning, and we know what kind of focus that takes,” said first year head coach James DeFeo.
The Bears begin conference play with a Friday doubleheader against S.C. Upstate on March 30. That kicks off a stretch of 18 conference contests in 20 games to finish off the season.