(School Release) - On a cold and breezy afternoon at the Twin Creek Softball Complex in Woodstock, the Mercer softball team struggled to put together a complete game eventually losing two games on Saturday.
The Bears moved to 5-3 on the year after falling to UT Martin, 11-10 in game one and failed to earn the split, dropping game two against Tennessee Tech, 3-1. Sophomore McKenzie Woody led the way for the Bears offensively scoring three runs off a 5-for-8 performance at the plate in the two games.
Senior pitcher Kerri Nidiffer was left on the hook for the two losses on the day, but had a solid day throwing a complete game in against Tennessee Tech and gave up just two earned runs.
Mercer dug itself an early hole in game one falling behind 7-0 by the top of the third inning. Junior pitcher Julia Rice received the start inside the circle and allowed seven hits over the first three innings. However, the Bears' defense didn't do too much to help Rice, committing three errors which led to the Skyhawks first seven runs.
A two out rally in the bottom of the third allowed the Bears to claw their way back into the game. Mercer scored five runs off a pair of two-run RBI from sophomore Rachel Hugghins and freshman Ashton Holt.
Junior McKenzie Woody scored one of her three runs on the day in the bottom of the fourth to bring the Bears within one, 7-6. Woody led off the inning with a double down the left field line before scoring off a sacrifice fly off the bat of sophomore Molly Garmany.
A UT Martin run in the top of the fifth gave the Skyhawks a two-run advantage 7-6 before Mercer would take its first lead in the bottom of the sixth.
A Skyhawks pitching change at the start of the sixth led to five walks and a pair of Mercer base hits which in turn allowed four Mercer runs to come across to give the Bears the outright lead 10-8 heading into the final inning.
The lead was however short lived as senior Kerri Nidiffer was unable to close things out. After giving up a pair of lead off singles, Mercer had a shot to turn a quick double play. A throwing error by Mercer's Kaytlin Haney sailed over the head of Garmany allowing one run to score and perhaps more importantly left a runner on the base pads.
Nidiffer secured the inning's second out on the next play, but with a runner on second allowed a two-out double that tied the game again. UT Martin's very next batter reached on fielder's choice that scored the game-winning run.
Mercer allowed 12 hits and gave up four errors in the one-run loss.
Nidiffer shook things off after the loss in game one and threw a solid game against Tennessee Tech, it was the offense this time that cost the Bears the game.
Mercer was limited to just four hits with the lone run coming off the bat of junior Randi Rea. Trailing 3-0 in the sixth, Rea took a full count offering deep to left center for her third home run of the season.
Tennessee Tech's starting pitcher, Taylor Ketchum kept the Bears guessing as she threw a complete game giving up just the one earned run and striking out two.
Mercer junior McKenzie Woody tallied two more hits in game two, improving her season average to .464. She leads the team with 13 hits on the year.
Mercer looks to rebound with two games set for tomorrow at the KSU Classic. The Bears face Eastern Kentucky at 10:30 a.m. before finishing off tournament play against SIU Edwardsville at 1 p.m.