One day after the pitching staff led the way in a win over The Citadel, the Mercer baseball team turned to its offense to carry the load at the Southern Conference tournament.
And the Bears’ bats did just that, pounding out 23 hits, including 10 extra-base his, in a 19-7 win over VMI. The Bears improve to 33-21, including 4-0 against VMI, and move into Saturday’s semifinals in terrific shape to get into the championship game.
After two wins to open the tournament, Mercer will face the winner of Friday night’s late Citadel-VMI contest for the right to go to the title game. The Bulldogs or Keydets would have to beat the Bears twice to advance.
“There’s a lot of parity in baseball,” Mercer head coach Craig Gibson said. “We’re going to play a great team (Saturday), whether it’s The Citadel or VMI.”
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While the Mercer pitching staff controlled The Citadel offense Thursday, it was the Mercer offense that did the damage against VMI.
The Bears scored multiple runs in five innings, opening with three runs in the first and five more in the second. They added two more in the fourth, three in the sixth and four in the seventh.
Mercer finished with six doubles and four home runs -- one long ball each from Matt Meeder, Kyle Lewis, Charlie Madden and Trey Truitt. Truitt also had two of the doubles and finished with three RBI.
Lewis had four RBI -- on a grand slam -- while Meeder scored four runs, including a home run to lead off the game. Jackson Ware, Danny Edgeworth and Madden each had four hits, and Madden had four RBI.
“We were sort of held in check (Thursday), but (Friday) we were really good,” Gibson said. “We had some great at-bats and put some good at-bats together and hit some balls out of the park in order to tack on a few runs, so this was a much better day.”