Mercer baseball sweeps doubleheader with Savannah State
The sweep handed Mercer (25-16) its 25th victory of the season, helping the Bears reach the mark for the sixth straight season and the ninth time during head coach Craig Gibson’s tenure at his alma mater.
Mercer 16, Savannah State 4
Mercer’s offense was very efficient in the rout, scoring 16 times despite tallying just eight hits in the five-inning contest. The Bears drew seven walks and earned four other free passes via hit batters, as freshmen Jackson Ware and Trey Truitt each reached base three times to lead the team.
Mitchell Wade earned the victory for the Bears, tossing two scoreless innings to improve to 4-1 on the season. Conrad Cornell got the final two outs of the game in his first collegiate appearance.
Trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the third, Mercer exploded for a season-high 13 runs to blow the game open. The Bears reached double-figure runs in an inning for the first time since the 2013 campaign, when they scored 10 times during the sixth frame of the team’s 18-3 win over Florida A&M.
Matt Meeder scored the first run of the inning on a balk, before Howard Joe’s double to left center plated Danny Edgeworth and Charlie Madden. The Bears would add four more runs on one swing as Truitt hit his third grand slam of the season for a 9-3 lead.
Madden continued the surge in his second at-bat of the inning, doubling down the left field line to drive in Meeder. Two batters later Nate Moorhouse would cross the plate thanks to Joe’s bases-loaded walk, before Ware continued the fireworks. The freshman hit the team’s second grand slam of the inning to push the Bears’ lead to 15-3 and close out the scoring for the frame.
Mercer added another run in the fourth inning on Moorhouse’s sacrifice fly, before thunderstorms halted play in the fifth.
The two teams resumed the game this afternoon at Savannah State’s Tiger Baseball Field, as SSU (16-25) closed out the scoring with a run in the fifth before the game was concluded.
Mercer 3, Savannah State 2
The Bears continued their efficient offensive attack in the second game of the series, scoring three runs in the top of the first on just one hit. Meeder drew a walk to lead-off the game, before moving to second on a wild pitch. The sophomore would score moments later, crossing the plate on a throwing error after Bonin’s bunt single. Kyle Lewis’ sacrifice fly plated Bonin moments later for a 2-0 lead, before Ware scored Mercer’s third run of the frame on another wild pitch.
The Tigers answered with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning, as RBI hits by Zac Brigham and Harrison Moore pulled SSU within a run, 3-2.
Both offenses would stall from that point on, however, as each pitching staff settled in over the final eight innings. The Bears’ bullpen held Savannah State scoreless over the final eight frames, limiting the Tigers to just five hits in that span.
Wade and Morgan Pittman were a big part of that success, combining for 7.1 scoreless innings to help Mercer maintain a one-run advantage. Wade was credited with his second win of the day, giving up just one hit in four frames of action to improve to 5-1.
DJ Johnson got the final three outs of the game for his second save of the year, snuffing out a suicide squeeze attempt to help escape a bases-loaded jam in the ninth.
Mercer tallied eight hits in the nightcap, led by a 3-for-5 performance from Bonin, who recorded two bunt singles in the contest. Lewis notched the team’s lone extra-base hit, belting a one-out double in the fifth inning.
The Bears return to action this weekend, as they welcome UNCG to Macon for a three-game series. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. on Friday, April 24, at Claude Smith Field.