FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Mercer baseball team committed a season-high four errors that led to five unearned runs in an eventual 6-5 loss to Florida Gulf Coast on Friday evening at Swanson Stadium.
Mercer's (32-11, 14-5 A-Sun) five-game winning streak came to end with the loss which also shrunk its lead over FGCU (28-15, 12-4 A-Sun) in the Atlantic Sun Conference standings to just half a game.
Mercer came into Friday night's contest leading the A-Sun Conference with a .971 team fielding percentage, but instead committed four errors in a game for the first time since an 8-0 loss to Kennesaw State back on March 17, 2012.
Senior Michael Massi, who earlier in the day was one of just 35 players in the country named to the initial Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year Award Watch List, paced the Bears offense by going 3-for-4 with a run scored.
Florida Gulf Coast jumped on the board early against Mercer starter Brandon Barker, plating an unearned run in the bottom of the first to take a 1-0 lead.
With the score now 2-0 FGCU, the Bears committed two more errors in the bottom of the third inning that led to four more runs to give the Eagles a commanding 6-0 lead through three innings of play.
Mercer continued to trail FGCU 6-0 in the top of the fifth when senior Derrick Workman delivered a bright spot in the contest for the Bears. Workman lead off the frame with a single to left field to become just the second active player in all of NCAA Division I with 400 or more career total bases.
The Bears finally broke onto the scoreboard against Eagles ace Michael Murray in the top of the sixth. An RBI double by Massi and an RBI groundout by senior Nick Backlund made the score 6-2 FGCU.
Mercer continued its comeback bid in the top of the eighth with three more runs courtesy of a pinch hit RBI single by freshman Howard Joe, an RBI groundout by junior Devin Bonin and an RBI single by junior Nate Moorhouse to cut the Eagles lead down to just 6-5.
That would be as close as the Bears would get, however, as their late inning rally came up short as freshman Sterling Koerner pitched a 1-2-3 top of the ninth to secure the home win for the Eagles.
Murray picked up the win for FGCU, his NCAA leading 10th of the season, despite allowing a season-high four runs on nine hits.
Mercer and Florida Gulf Coast continues its three-game series tomorrow afternoon with a 2 p.m. first pitch at Swanson Stadium.