Mercer has gone from a nice winning streak to a short losing streak, thanks to Georgia Tech’s bats, which led the Yellow Jackets to an 11-3 win Tuesday night over the Bears at OrthoGeorgia Park.
Mercer fell to 21-6 overall while Georgia Tech improved to 14-9. Mercer is now 4-1 against in-state opponents.
The Bears struck first in the second inning. Jackson Ware advanced two runners with a sacrifice bunt and Hunter Bening’s fly out to right field allowed Charlie Madden to score from third base to make it 1-0.
Georgia Tech responded quickly and efficiently with a four-run third inning.
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Center fielder Joe Bart snuck a single down the third baseline into left field that scored Wade Bailey from second. Chase Murray stepped up two batters later with a double to left-center that scored Bart and Austin Wilhite followed right after with a RBI single that scored two runners and left Mercer staring at a 4-1 deficit in the third inning.
Georgia Tech scored another run in the fourth with a bunt that turned into three bases from Bailey. Mercer relief pitcher Robert Broom overthrew to first, leading to an unearned run as Tech’s Trevor Craport scored from first fora 5-1 lead.
The sixth and seventh innings offered more of the same with back-to-back solo home runs from Bailey and Bart for a 7-1 lead that grew on a three-run homer from Bart in the seventh.
Mercer was able to gain a little momentum in the seventh with a two-run homer from freshman Alex Crotty cut the gap to 10-3.
THREE WHO MATTERED
Ben Schniederjan: The junior threw a solid game, pitching five innings and facing 20 batters before retiring with two strikeouts and only two hits and one run allowed.
Bart : He built on what was already a solid season, batting .340. Bart was 5-for-5 with five RBI and two home runs.
Crotty: The freshman came in as pinch-hitter for Matt Meeder in the seventh and made an immediate impact with a two-run homer that cut into Georgia Tech’s lead. He ended the day 1-for-2 with two RBI and the home run.
Only a matter of time: The Jackets got on base early, but were unable to capitalize, stranding two runners in the first and second innings. Mercer’s Kevin Coulter allowed three hits in the first two innings, but kept the Jackets at bay with only one run until the third when the Jackets scored four runs.
Bat to ball: The Yellow Jackets batted well with 18 hits, eight coming in the first four innings. They ended the game with 3 home runs and batted 18-45 as a team.
Young guys: Mercer began to pinch hit batters in the seventh inning with predominantly underclassmen stepping up to the plate. Three of Mercer’s five hits and one of three runs came from pinch hitters, two of which were underclassmen.
The Yellow Jackets left runners on in the first two innings, but the floodgates opened in the third with four runs on four hits. That led to a pitching change that brought Mercer’s Robert Broom to the mound with two outs and a man on second.
THEY SAID IT
Mercer head coach Craig Gibson: “Well, we’ve got to do some soul searching, I think offensively we’ve got to get a little bit better. We’ve faced two good arms Sunday and (Tuesday) and really didn’t have any answer for them. Hats off to Georgia Tech, they took it to us. They’re just better than us.
Gibson on rebounding: “We’ve got to face a good arm Friday night and we have to come back and face the preseason pitcher of the year and hopefully we can get things started the right way on Friday.”
Mercer visits Furman for a three-game series starting at 6 p.m. on Friday. Georgia Tech host Clemson at 6 p.m. on Friday to open an ACC series.