DELAND, Fla. (Mercer Athletics)- The Mercer baseball team fought back to take a lead going into the bottom of the ninth, but Florida Gulf Coast rallied late to steal a 4-3 win in the second round of the 2012 Atlantic Sun Championship on Thursday evening at Melching Field.
Mercer (38-20) had only four hits in the contest against FGCU starter Jason Forjet, who pitched a complete game on 112 pitches for his second win of the season.
Thursday night's contest featured two of the hottest squads in the country, with FGCU having won seven out of its last nine games and Mercer having won 14 out of its last 15 contests.
It would be FGCU who struck first in the bottom of the first against Mercer starter David Randall. An RBI single by sophomore Brandon Bednar gave the Eagles an early 1-0 lead.
After a scoreless second inning, the Eagles broke through for another run in the bottom of the third. An RBI single to right field by junior Mike Reeves made the score 2-0 FGCU.
FGCU starter Jason Forjet, meanwhile, was rolling through the Mercer line-up starting the game off throwing five-straight hitless innings.
Sophomore DJ Johnson finally logged the Bears first hit of the contest when he roped a clean single through the left side in the top of the sixth. Forjet regrouped, however, getting the next two batters of the inning to keep the Eagles in front, 2-0.
Mercer put together its best scoring threat of the day in the top of the seventh against Forjet. Sophomore Nate Moorhouse led off the inning with a walk and redshirt sophomore Nick Backlund got hit with a pitch to put runners on first and second with no outs. After a sacrifice bunt by redshirt sophomore Austin Barrett, junior Travis Benn delivered a huge two-RBI double to tie things up at 2-2.
The Bears weren't done there, however, using an RBI single to right field by junior Logan Gaines, just their third hit of the evening, to drive in Benn and make the score 3-2.
That is the way things would stay thanks to the solid relief pitching of junior David Tealsey. Teasley relieved Randall in the sixth and threw 2.2 innings of scoreless relief going into the bottom of the ninth.
In the Eagles half of the ninth, after back-to-back singles, Bednar lifted a sacrifice fly to right field to tie the game up at 3-3. Freshman Dimitri Kourtis came on after Teasley and couldn't hold FGCU at bay, allowing a walk-off single to sophomore Andrew Valencia to end the game.
Johnson had a team-high two hits in the loss, while Randall lasted 5.1 innings and allowed two runs on eight hits while striking out three.
Mercer will now play No. 1 seeded Belmont on Friday morning in an elimination game. Game time is set for 11 a.m. at Melching Field.