Mercer baseball drops doubleheader to UNCG
Mercer (26-18, 11-6 SoCon) smacked 22 hits on the day, but finished with 10 runs in the twinbill after stranding 20 runners. Despite the two losses the Bears remained just a half game behind SoCon leader Samford, who dropped two-of-three from Wofford this weekend.
UNCG 9, Mercer 3
Kyle Lewis was the story of the opening game for the Bears, as the sophomore outfielder finished 5-for-5 with two RBIs to pace an offensive that reached double-figures in the hits column for the second straight game. Charlie Madden and Trey Truitt also had multiple-hit performances for Mercer with two apiece.
Grant Papelian was tagged with the loss to fall to 4-4 on the season, after giving up four runs on eight hits in 5.2 innings of work.
Mercer scored the game’s first run in the bottom of the second, as Nate Moorhouse’s RBI double to center field broke up a scoreless tie for a 1-0 lead.
UNCG (19-20, 10-8 SoCon) answered in the third though, grabbing their first lead of the series, 3-1, on Aaron Wright’s three-run home run to right field.
The Bears trimmed the deficit to 3-2 in the home half of the frame, as Lewis picked up his second hit of the game with a RBI single to left field to score Madden.
However, UNCG used back-to-back two-out hits in the top of the sixth to push its lead back to two, 4-2, and would rely on the arm of Tyler Frazier to hold the lead. The senior right-hander tossed four straight scoreless innings for his third win of the year, finishing with one run in five frames of action.
The Spartans tacked on five insurance runs in the top of the ninth, before Lewis drove in Devin Bonin with double to left field to round out the scoring.
UNCG 8, Mercer 7
The two teams battled back-and-forth throughout the second game of the doubleheader with eight lead changes in the contest. However, Mercer saw its fifth SoCon series victory slip away, as Eric Kalbfleisch hit his second home run of the game with a decisive solo shot in the eighth to hand UNCG the victory.
The Spartans carried their momentum over to the second game, plating two runs in the opening frame on Tyler Long’s double down the left field line.
Mercer erased the deficit with three runs in the bottom of the second for a 3-2 lead. Trey Truitt opened the scoring with a RBI double down the right field line, before Charlie Madden put the Bears on top, 3-2, with a two-run single to left.
The Spartans came right back in the third, as Zac MacAneney homered to center field and Hunter King stole three straight bases, including home, to push them back on top, 4-3
The lead would be short lived though, as Bears answered in the home half. Mercer grabbed a 5-4 advantage on Jackson Ware’s fourth home run of the season, a two-run shot over the left field wall.
UNCG tied the game in fourth on Kalbfleisch’s solo home run to left, before jumping out in front, 7-5, thanks to another home run by MacAneney and a RBI single from Collin Woody.
As it did throughout the game, Mercer responded in the bottom half of the frame. Danny Edgeworth scored Bonin with a single through the right side, while Moorhouse returned the favor two batters later with a game-tying RBI single.
The Bears were unable to answer UNCG’s final strike though, stranding three runners over the final two innings. Morgan Pittman was tagged with his first loss of the year, giving up three runs, two earned, in 4.2 frames.
Moorhouse reached all five times to pace Mercer’s offensive attack in the nightcap, finishing 2-for-2 with three walks to lead a group that tallied reached double-figures, 10, for the third time in the series. Edgeworth went 2-for-3 with a pair of walks, while Ware added two hits of his own in the contest.
The Bears will get several days of rest, before traveling to Lexington, Va. for a three-game series at VMI. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. on May 1 at Gray-Minor Stadium.