MACON, Ga. (School Release) - The Mercer baseball team's bid to sweep its three-game weekend series with Jacksonville came up just short in a 5-2 loss to the Dolphins on Saturday afternoon at Claude Smith Field.
Mercer (23-8, 6-3 A-Sun) still sits in a tie for first in the A-Sun Conference standings through the first three weeks of league play despite the loss and has yet to lose a weekend series thus far in 2013.
It looked like the Bears were in line for another big game with the bats after lighting up the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning. An RBI single by junior Nick Backlund gave Mercer an early 1-0 advantage.
It would be tough sledding from that point forward for the Orange and Black, however, as Jacksonville starter Alex McRae held the home team to just that one run on six hits over six innings of work.
With the score tied at 1-1 going into the top of the sixth, the Dolphins changed the entire complexion of the game with a single swing. With runners on first and second with two outs, junior Brady North hooked a pitch from Bears starter DJ Johnson just around the right field foul pole to give Jacksonville a 4-1 lead.
Mercer tried to rally back from the deficit late, but after an RBI single by junior Derrick Workman, Dolphins reliever Jeff Tanner struck Backlund out with the bases loaded to end the game.
The Bears left the bases loaded three times in the contest and stranded 11 runners total in the series finale loss.
Backlund and Workman each finished the game going 2-for-5 with an RBI.
Johnson pitched well in defeat, allowing three earned runs to go along with seven strikeouts in six innings pitched in his first loss of the season.
Mercer will get two well-deserved days off before returning to the diamond for a premier mid-week match-up against #16 Georgia Tech on April 2. Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Claude Smith Field.