Mercer baseball drops series finale to Furman, 8-4
Mercer (18-12, 5-1 SoCon) fell for the first time in Southern Conference play, after giving up an early lead for just the second time this season. The Bears finished with a series low eight hits, including just two over the final four frames. Kyle Lewis pushed his hitting streak to 12 games with a 2-for-4 effort, while Jackson Ware had his third-straight multiple-hit performance with a pair of doubles.
“I’m disappointed that we weren’t able to finish off the weekend with a win, but you have to give Furman a lot of credit their starter threw well today,” said head coach Craig Gibson. “We hit some balls hard this afternoon, but we just didn’t have a lot to show for it. To get a sweep on the road you have to be tougher than the home club, so hopefully we can grow from this experience as we head into the rest of SoCon play.”
Mercer picked up where it left off on Saturday’s 11-run effort, jumping out to a 1-0 advantage in the top of the first. Matt Meeder singled through the left side on the game’s first pitch, before scoring two batters later on Lewis’ single to right field.
Furman (12-14, 2-4 SoCon) responded in the home half of the inning, as Griffin Davis handed the Paladins their first lead, 2-1, since the early stages of Friday’s series opener with a two-run home run to left field.
The Bears erased the deficit in the fourth inning, as Howard Joe hit his second home run of the series, a three-run blast to put Mercer on top, 4-2.
However, the Paladins would pull away on the strength of three-run frames in the fifth and sixth. Furman saw its first three batters reach in the fifth to ignite the rally, before plating all three for a 5-4 advantage. The Paladins pushed the lead to 8-4 an inning later on RBI hits from Jake Jones and Chris Ohmstede.
The Bears threatened in the ninth, loading the bases with one out but a ground-ball double play would end any chances of a late-inning rally. Starter Ryan Askew was tagged with the loss, after giving up five runs on five hits in four innings of work.
Mercer returns to Claude Smith Field on Tuesday, March 31, as the Bears play host to Savannah State for a mid-week contest. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.
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