LEXINGTON, Va. (School Release) - Junior Zack Ward and freshman Chris Baxa each had five points to lead the Mercer men's lacrosse team to a 16-8 win at VMI on Sunday afternoon. The Bears' triumph pushed the team to 4-7 on the year while VMI remained winless at 0-11.
Mercer never trailed in the game after Baxa opened the afternoon's scoring at the 7:08 juncture of the first quarter. Junior Keoni Rausch and Ward each added additional tallies in the first stanza to help the Bears assume a 3-1 lead after the opening 15 minutes.
In the second quarter, the Bears exploded for six scores on 17 shots to stake a commanding 9-2 lead at halftime. The Keydets would fight back with three-straight goals to open the second half, but the Bears notched three scores in the final 5:25 of the third quarter to withstand the comeback.
Baxa's four goals pushed his season total to 31 and established a new program single-season record. His 31 goals surpassed the previous standard of 27, held by Cole Branch in 2011. His Sunday effort also extended his goal scoring streak to nine-straight games.
Ward also registered four goals and an assist on Sunday, marking his second-straight game with five points. As a team, the Bears' 27 points, 16 goals, 11 assists, 53 shots and 30 shots on goal were all season highs.
Freshman goalie Mike Nugent made 14 saves to capture his fourth win of the season. Junior midfielder Justin Evans won 10-of-22 face-offs while freshman midfielder Adam Broeckaert won three of six face-offs.
Mercer returns home to wrap up the season against Jacksonville on April 27. Game time at the Moye Lacrosse Complex is scheduled for 1 p.m.