No. 24 Mercer visits No. 4 Florida on Tuesday
Mercer (34-11) will face off against its second ranked opponent of the season after downing No. 23 Georgia Tech 4-1 on March 25. The Bears have an impressive 7-1 record in their last eight contests against nationally ranked teams and haven’t challenged a team ranked as high as the Gators since defeating No. 6 Georgia Tech 4-2 in Atlanta on March 29, 2011.
Despite having all of last week off due to final exams, Mercer stayed ranked as the No. 24 team in the Baseball America Top-25 poll and made its season debut into the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Division I poll with a No. 30 ranking.
Mercer: RHP Brandon Barker (3-3, 3.49 ERA, 43 K’s)
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT
Florida (33-15) enters play on Tuesday riding a six-game winning streak following a three-game series sweep of No. 19 Alabama in Tuscaloosa this past weekend. The Gators have been stellar at home this season, with a 21-8 record at Alfred A. McKethan Stadium, and have shown poise under pressure sporting an impressive 13-6 mark in one-run contests. Florida is currently No. 1 in the country is strength of schedule and No. 2 in RPI thanks to a staggering 20-8 record against top-50 RPI clubs this season. The Gators are paced offensively by junior Taylor Gushue who leads the team with a .328 batting average, 13 doubles and 40 RBI.
LAST TIME OUT
FORT MYERS, Fla. (MERCER ATHLETICS RELEASE) –The Mercer baseball team secured an important road series victory following its 5-3 rubber match win over Florida Gulf Coast on April 27 at Swanson Stadium. Mercer handed FGCU (28-17, 12-6 A-Sun) its first true three-game weekend series loss of the season with the win and is now the only team in the Atlantic Sun Conference to win its annual regular season series with the Eagles in each of the last four years. Junior Dimitri Kourtis sealed the Bears victory late, throwing 3.1 innings of scoreless relief to improve his record up to a perfect 5-0 this season. Junior Nate Moorhouse and freshman Danny Edgeworth finished the day as the two top hitters in the Mercer lineup, each going 2-for-3 with a run scored in the win.
– Florida holds a 12-2 lead in the all-time series over Mercer which will be renewed for the first time since the 2006 season. Interestingly enough, the Bears won the last game played between the two clubs when they went down to Gainesville and came away with a 3-2 victory over a No. 1 ranked Gators squad on February 15, 2006.
– Senior Derrick Workman is closing in on some worthy individual accolades entering play this week. The Acworth, Ga. native is now just two hits shy of breaking the all-time Mercer career record of 264 hits set by Tim Smith in 1980-1983. Workman is already one of only three active players in all of NCAA Division I with 400 or more career total bases and needs just three more doubles to break into the top-30 all-time in Atlantic Sun Conference history.
– Seniors Derrick Workman and Michael Massi were two of just 11 players named to the Capital One Academic All-District 4 first team as announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) on May 1. District 4 covers all the Division I schools in the states of Georgia, Florida, Alabama and South Carolina. Workman and Massi were the only players from the Peach State named to the list and joins Jacksonville’s Scott Schaub and Stetson’s Patrick Mazeika as the only players to represent the Atlantic Sun Conference on the list.