DELAND, Fla. (School Release)- For the second day in a row, the long ball helped secure a win as the Bears took the season series against Stetson with a 12-4 final in five innings from Patricia Wilson Softball Field.
Junior Randi Rea went yard for the third time in two days and junior Krista Kennedy connected for her second grandslam of the season as the two accounted for seven of the Bears 12 runs on Sunday. Mercer improves to 9-3 in the Atlantic Sun and 20-15 overall while Stetson drops to 1-5 in conference and 18-12 in 2013.
After letting Stetson jump out the early lead in both games on Saturday, the Bears turned the tables and put the early pressure on the Hatters in game three on Sunday. The Bears posted five runs in the top of the first with McKenzie Woody again igniting the offense in her leadoff position.
Woody posted her 13th hit to leadoff a game and was brought home on the next play as Marissa Botz laced a single to center to give Mercer the quick 1-0 lead. Two batters later, Botz was brought home when Kennedy recorded her first of six RBI in the game with another single to center.
Already up 2-0, Randi Rea came to the plate with two on and smashed her third homerun of the series to move the Bears lead to 5-0 in the top of the first. Mercer's Julia Rice started game three and recorded one out in the bottom of the first before the game was delayed because of lightening in the DeLand area.
After the delay, Rice finished out the bottom half of the first allowing one run to plate to make the score 5-1. The top of the second started in identical fashion to the first for the Bears as Woody beat out a throw to first for her second lead off hit of the day. Woody finished the game going 2-for-3 with three runs scored.
Kennedy tallied her second RBI with another single to left and then another two Bears scored off an RBI groundout by freshman Ashton Holt
and a Stetson wild pitch. The three runs quickly made the score 8-1 heading into the bottom of the second.
Rice walked the Hatters first two batters of the second before she was pulled for senior Kerri Nidiffer
. Nidiffer threw a quality outing on Sunday allowing just three hits and two earned over four innings of work. She carried the 8-2 lead into the fifth when the Bears added a few insurance runs off the bat of Kennedy.
Kennedy took a 2-2 pitch off Stetson relief pitcher Taylor Cochran deep to center for a grand slam, giving the Bears the necessary runs to end things early. From there it was up to Nidiffer in the bottom of the fifth to ensure the win.
Nidiffer worked the bases loaded and allowed runs in the inning, but ultimately induced the final out and secured her 10th win of the season.
Mercer returns to action this week with a short respite from conference play hosting Florida A&M on Wednesday for a doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m.