Sports

Jacksonville bats explode against Mercer

Sometimes it doesn’t pay to even get out of bed.

Monday was that kind of day for Mercer.

The Bears’ final home game of the season was as forgettable as any in a long time as Jacksonville rolled past Mercer 23-5 at Claude Smith Field.

“It was one of those days,” said second baseman Michael Langley, who had two hits. “There’s really nothing you can say. It wasn’t our day at all.”

Mercer fell to 20-22 overall and 9-15 in the A-Sun while Jacksonville improved to 33-17 and 19-11 and crept closer to clinching the top seed in the tournament.

The Bears have their work out for them to snag a spot in the tournament. They visit Belmont, which is battling Jacksonville for the top seed, for three games starting Thursday.

Mercer is fighting ETSU (23-25, 9-18) and Campbell (25-21, 7-16) for the final two tournament positions.

The tournament seems a long way off after a day in which the Bears committed four errors, were on their fourth pitcher before the halfway point and ended up throwing nine pitchers and one first baseman.

The 23 runs and 26 hits were season highs for Jacksonville and the most Mercer has allowed this season.

Mercer records are incomplete for 22 seasons since 1948. The 23 runs were the most the Bears have allowed since a 28-22 loss to Auburn in 1951.

The lone bright spots were Langley’s two hits, a monstrous home run by John Moreland and a solid homer by Travis Peyatt, a sophomore from Mount de Sales.

“That was awesome,” Langley said of Peyatt’s first career homer. “The guy’s worked hard for three years, and he gets a jack over the 400 (foot) sign.”

After five innings, Jacksonville had sent almost twice as many batters to the plate as Mercer, 32-17.

“We started saying, ‘Obviously it’s out of hand, so maybe have some fun the final few innings.’ ” Langley said.

Nick DiMauro had a rough day at shortstop. A quality defender, DiMauro battled bad hops and in-between bounces, ending up with three errors.

“You’ve got to give him errors on the balls,” Langley said, “but they were almost impossible hops.”

Only two days earlier, Mercer had positive feelings going after taking a 6-1 win and holding Jacksonville to two hits.

“That shows how good Lath (Guyer) was,” Gibson said of Saturday’s starting pitcher. “They’re a good offensive team.”

Jacksonville scored six in the second inning Monday on five hits — four singles and a double — and three errors. The Dolphins put eight on the board in the fourth, four coming on two homers by Thomas Myers.

Joey Belviso batted for Myers in the sixth and drilled a two-run homer, as did Chris Connelly two batters later for a 19-1 lead.

Peyatt prevented the margin from being the worst recorded spread with a towering solo homer in the eighth. The Bears added two runs in the bottom of the ninth.

The game having been out of hand for a while, Gibson lightened the mood by putting first baseman Steve Karwatt on the mound in top of the ninth inning.

“He’s been saying for four years how easy it is to pitch,” Gibson said. “He got his shot.”

And the senior got Kevin Lehane to fly to deep left to end the inning.

“There were 31 guys wanting that ball to get out of the park,” Gibson said with a grin. “He was the only one who wanted it to stay in.”

  Comments