MACON, Ga. - In a game that took almost three and a half hours to play and featured a combined 19 runs, 24 hits, 14 walks, and six wild pitches, the No. 21 Mercer baseball team did just enough offensively to come away with a 12-7 win over East Tennessee State on Saturday evening at Claude Smith Field.
With tonight's win, Mercer (38-14, 16-7 A-Sun) broke the program record for most regular season wins previously held by the 2012 edition of the Bears. More importantly, Saturday night's victory also moved Mercer back into a first-place tie with North Florida in the Atlantic Sun Conference standings with only four games left in the 2013 regular season.
After a scoreless first inning for both squads, the Bears busted out the bats in a big way in the bottom of the second. Mercer scored six runs in the frame, highlighted by a bases loaded walk by junior Austin Barrett and a two-RBI single by senior Evan Boyd, to take an early 6-0 lead over ETSU.
The Buccaneers responded, however, with a three-run rally in the top of the third inning keyed by a two-RBI single by freshman Kevin Phillips to make the score 6-3 Mercer.
The Orange and Black continued to pile on the runs over the next few innings though, scoring a run in the third, two in the fourth and two more in the bottom of the fifth to eventually give themselves some breathing room. RBI doubles by sophomore Chesny Young and senior Logan Gaines supplied the final two runs in the fifth to make the score 11-3 Bears.
The Mercer bullpen did the rest from there using outings from Ben Lumsden, Grant Papelian, David Teasley, Morgan Pittman and Dimitri Kourtis to secure the wild win.
Young had yet another stellar day with the bat for the Bears, going 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored to extend his hitting streak to a career-long 21 games. Gaines also shined offensively for Mercer, going 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two RBI in the win.
Mercer returns to action tomorrow afternoon for the rubber match of its three-game series with ETSU. Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Claude Smith Field and will double as Senior Day for the Bears six-member 2013 senior class.