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The Mercer baseball team kept up its winning ways with a wire-to-wire 8-3 win over Evansville on Saturday afternoon at Claude Smith Field.

Mercer (7-0) has now clinched the second-best start in program history and is just one win away from tying the 1970 edition of the Bears, who won eight-straight games to start their season, for the best start in program history.

Senior Derrick Workman got Mercer off to a good start in the bottom of the first when he laced an RBI single to left center to make the score 1-0 Bears.

The home team doubled its lead in the bottom of the fourth when senior Sasha LaGarde came up with the bases loaded and was hit by a pitch to bring in another run and make the score 2-0.

With the score 4-2 in the bottom of the sixth, Mercer got a big hit in a big moment from redshirt freshman Howard Joe. Joe turned on a 0-1 pitch and launched his first career grand slam over the left field wall to push the Bears out to an 8-2 advantage.

That was plenty of run support for Mercer starter Grant Papelian who kept the Evansville hitters off balance all game long. Papelian pitched 5.2 innings and allowed two runs on seven hits while tying his career-high with five strikeouts to pick up his first win of the season.

Senior Michael Massi tied his career-high in hits with a 3-for-4 day at the dish with a triple, an RBI and a run scored.

Mercer tries for the series sweep of the Purple Aces on Sunday afternoon with a 1 p.m. first pitch at Claude Smith Field.

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