JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Mercer baseball team did just enough offensively to hang onto a 4-2 series opening win over Jacksonville on Friday evening at John Sessions Stadium.
Mercer (17-6, 3-1 A-Sun) got great pitching out of its bullpen, as three relievers combined to allow just one run over 4.2 innings of work.
Junior Morgan Pittman picked up the win after throwing 2.1 innings of relief while classmate Ben Lumsden recorded his sixth save of the season with some gritty pitching at the tail end of the contest.
Jacksonville opened the scoring in the game in the bottom of the first inning after an RBI double by Dylan Dillard gave the Dolphins an early 1-0 lead.
That is the way things would stay as Mercer starter Ryan Askew and Jacksonville starter Alex McRae matched zeros over the next four frames.
The Bears finally got to McRae in the top of the sixth after a bases loaded two-RBI single by junior Chesny Young and a sacrifice fly by senior Nick Backlund put Mercer in front by a score 3-1.
Jacksonville cut Mercer's lead in half with a bases loaded walk in the bottom half of the seventh to make the score 3-2 in favor of the Bears. The run was charged to junior Morgan Pittman which is significant considering it's the first earned run surrendered by the Newnan, Ga. native in 24.1 innings pitched this season.
The Bears tacked on an insurance run courtesy of an RBI double by freshman Charlie Madden in the top of the ninth to make the score 4-2.
Lumsden got into a little trouble in the bottom of the ninth after Jacksonville got runners on first and second with just one out, but a great diving catch by junior Nate Moorhouse and a strikeout closed out the ballgame for the Bears.
Young finished the contest going 2-for-4 with two RBI while Madden also finished 2-for-4 with an RBI of his own in the win.
Mercer and Jacksonville are back at it tomorrow afternoon with a 2 p.m. first pitch scheduled at John Sessions Stadium.