The Mercer Bears have advanced to 18-10 this season with a two-game split decision against the Stetson Hatters. The final game of the series this past weekend was cancelled due to rain.
The Bears dropped their first game 6-1 to the Hatters, but were able to rally back for the second and win 5-4.
The excited match-up ended with a single-run, walk-off hit by sophomore Kaytlin Haney that allowed junior Kaylynn Sloat to score the final run, winning the ball game in extra innings.
Freshman Kirsten Stevens pitched the first game of the series. Junior Riley Carter pitched a majority of the second game but was relieved late in the game by senior Julia Rice.
In the midweek the Bears took on No. 1 ranked University of Florida. The Bears fought hard in the double header but dropped both games to the Gators.
The first game ended in a 8-0 defeat, but the Bears were able to rebound in the second match-up. Rice pitched the entire game and only allowed one run. Mackenzie Woody went 2-4 in the effort.
“Against Florida the first game we didn’t play to our ability and it showed, but in the second game we came back and were mentally focused,” said Rice, “Holding the number one team in the country to one run really showed our team we can play with anyone.”
After only the second weekend of conference play, the Bears are ranked sixth in the Atlantic Sun Conference. With a long season the team will face each conference opponent in a three-game series with the final goal of making the conference tournament.
“We have been hitting pretty well since conference started and our main thing is consistency,” said Rice.
Senior Krista Kennedy has much confidence in her squad.
“As every team on campus, we are ring chasing, but more than that we are looking to make a statement and I think we have a good opportunity to do just that with the team we have this year,” said Kennedy, “I think we have learned in our start to conference games that there are not going to be any freebies. We are going to have to show up and play our best no matter what.”
Haney currently leads the team in batting average. She is batting .379 and leads the team in RBIs as well with 32.
Caroline Taylor is leading the team in home runs with seven, Kennedy trails right behind with six.
Mercer hosts Georgia Southern in a non-conference double header March 20. The Bears will resume conference play March 22 for a three-game series at Jacksonville.