Softball sweeps Scramble, recovering from slow start

After a sluggish 2-7 start to the season, the Mercer softball squad has turned things around as they won five of six games to round out the month of February. Those five wins included a four-game sweep at the Samford Softball Scramble in Alabama.

Mercer 6, Samford 2
The Bears began the Scramble playing against the host Bulldogs of Samford. Mercer took a 2-0 lead in the third inning and never looked back as they led by as many as six. Seniors Sara Stukes and Kristin Marko each homered in the contest to supply offense behind the complete-game outing of Kassie Bailey.

Mercer 2, Eastern Ill. 0
Game two of the day proved to be much of the same as Mercer’s Jessica Holsinger surrendered just three hits from the circle en route to her complete-game shutout gem. Sara Stukes’ sac fly and Sarah Santana’s solo home run plated the only runs needed to support Holsinger’s stellar outing.

Mercer 9, Eastern Ill. 6
Day two of the Scramble proved to be a challenge for the Bears as they were forced to play extra innings. Game one was knotted 5-5 after regulation before the Bears would plate home four in the eighth to solidify their victory. Mercer would use four home runs from Phillips, Bailey, Santana and Kennedy to provide their offense in a game where their pitching surrendered 10 hits. Down 5-2 entering the sixth frame, the Bears rallied back to take the game to extras. Phillips’ three-run home run in the top of the eighth proved to be the decisive blow in the Bears’ third-straight win. Pitcher Kerri Nidiffer had potentially her best outing of the season as she threw four innings and allowed just one unearned run in her first win of the year.

Mercer 7, Samford 4
In game two of the final day doubleheader, Jessica Holsinger continued her dominance of 2012 with an eight-inning complete-game performance. She tallied her third victory as she led the Bears to their fourth consecutive win. Tied 3-3 from the end of the third frame, neither team was able to cross the plate as the Bears would play their second extra-inning game of the day. Freshman Molly Garmany did her best impersonation of Tiffany Phillips as she duplicated the eight-inning three-run shot from game one to solidify the win. It was her first home run of her young collegiate career.
Mercer 2, Savannah State 3
Coming off a tournament sweep at the Samford Scramble, the Bears lost a nail-biter against Savannah State on the road in game one of the doubleheader. With the game tied 2-2 in the fifth, the Eagles capitalized on the Bears’ error on the field and scored an unearned run with two outs to take the lead for good. Pitcher Kerri Nidiffer suffered a tough loss from the circle as she pitched all six innings giving up just the one unearned run.

Mercer 9, Savannah State 3
Freshman sensation Jessica Holsinger improved her record to 4-1 on the year with another solid outing. Holsinger threw six and two-thirds innings while allowing just one run. Sarah Santana continued her hot streak at the plate as she went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and home run to support Holsinger’s efforts. Mercer’s six-run sixth inning proved to be the critical inning in the 9-3 win.