Five-run ninth helps Mercer sweep VMI with 16-11 win

LEXINGTON, Va. (MERCER ATHLETICS) – The Mercer University baseball team scored five runs in the ninth inning to rally for a 16-11 victory over VMI on Sunday afternoon, sweeping the Southern Conference series at Gray-Minor Stadium.

Mercer (29-18, 14-6 SoCon) broke open an 11-11 tie in the top of the ninth with five runs, adding to its conference-leading win total. Nate Moorhouse led off the frame with a single up the middle, before scoring the game-winning run on a throwing error following Devin Bonin’s single.

Trey Truitt’s sacrifice fly added an insurance run for a 13-11, but the Bears would keep the rally going with back-to-back two-out hits. Danny Edgeworth pushed the lead to four, 15-11, on a single to right field, before Howard Joe drove him in with a single down the left field line to wrap up the scoring.

Ben Lumsden recorded the final three outs for his second victory of the season, as the senior helped lead the comeback with back-to-back scoreless frames to close out the game.

“It was a crazy Sunday game,” said head coach Craig Gibson. “It’s very difficult to sweep teams and to win on Sunday you have to be the toughest team. We had a great team effort offensively with Danny and Howard leading several guys with multiple hits. The guys won some big moments at the plate and our bullpen stepped up late to finish off the win.”

The Bears had a season-high 20 hits in the contest, the program’s most since putting up 20 hits in a victory over Alabama State during the 2014 campaign. Seven players had multiple-hit performances on the afternoon, led by four-hit efforts from Edgeworth and Joe. Joe, Kyle Lewis and Charlie Madden each had three RBIs to pace the team.

Mercer got off to another strong start, scoring the first run of the contest for the third time this series. Lewis blasted his third home run of the weeend, taking the first pitch of his at-bat over the center field wall to score the first three runs of the game. The Bears added another run later in the inning, as Joe’s single plated Edgeworth for a 4-0 advantage.

VMI (15-26, 8-10 SoCon) answered in the bottom half of the inning, cutting the deficit to one, 4-3, on Matt Winn’s three-run home run to straight-away center field.

The Bears put up another four runs in a big third inning. Joe drove in his second run of the day to kick off the fireworks, helping Truitt cross the plate with a single up the middle. Moments later, Madden added three more runs on one swing, blasting a shot to left field to grow the lead to five, 8-3.

The Keydets scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth, tallying four hits in the frame to trim the deficit to three, 8-5.

However, Mercer responded in the top of the fifth, as Matt Meeder’s RBI single pushed the lead to four, 9-5. The Bears would tack on another run in the sixth on Edgeworth’s run-scoring single through the right side for a 10-5 lead.

VMI continued the slugfest in the bottom of the sixth, pulling within two, 10-8, on Winn’s second three-run home run of the contest.

The Bears added another run in the top of the seventh on Bonin’s single down the right field line, but the Keydets knotted the game in the home half. VMI put together three straight hits, before David Geary’s single down the left field line drove in two of the team’s three runs in the inning to tie the game, 11-11.

The Bears return to action next Wednesday, May 6, when they host Georgia Tech at Claude Smith Field for a 6 p.m. The game is held in conjunction with The Big Bear event, presented by BB&T. Click here for more details on the event.

Categories: Across Georgia Sports, Bibb County, Sports

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