NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont scored a run in the bottom of the ninth and another in the bottom of the 10th to hand the Mercer baseball team a 4-3 extra-inning loss on Friday evening at E.S. Rose Park.
The loss ends Mercer's (9-1) seven-game road winning streak and puts an end to the Bears season opening nine-game unbeaten streak.
The Bears failed to get anything going offensively in the contest, tying their season-low with six hits while striking out 16 times in the loss.
It didn't take long for Mercer to jump on the scoreboard against Belmont starter Austin Coley courtesy of a very successful top of the first inning. Following a single by junior Chesny Young and a walk to senior Nick Backlund, senior Michael Massi lifted a three-run home run over the left field wall to give the Bears an early 3-0 advantage.
After both Coley and Mercer starter Brandon Barker matched zeros in the second and third innings, Belmont got to Barker in the bottom of the fourth. A pair of sacrifice flies by sophomore Dom Veltri and freshman Tyler Walsh chased Barker and made the score 3-2 Bears through four innings of play.
That is the way things would stay with neither team generating many threats offensively. Belmont had a threat going with runners on first and second with one out in the bottom of the eighth, but junior Ben Lumsden came on and induced a 1-6-3 double play to get the Bears out of the inning still holding onto a 3-2 lead.
The Bruins kept at it heading into the bottom of the ninth, however, and rallied for a game-tying run. A leadoff triple from senior William Dodd and another sacrifice fly brought in the game-tying run to make the score 3-3 and send the contest into extra innings.
Belmont completed its comeback in the bottom of the 10th inning when freshman Drake Byrd guided an RBI single up the middle to give the home team a walk-off 4-3 win.
Lumsden picked up the loss for Mercer after surrendering two earned runs in 2.1 innings of relief. Massi finished 2-for-5 with three RBI and was joined by Young, who went 2-for-4, as the only other Mercer player with multiple hits in the contest.
Mercer continues its three-game series with Belmont Saturday afternoon with a 2 p.m. first pitch at E.S Rose Park.