Craig Gibson thought it might take some time for his inexperienced Mercer baseball team to find its footing this season.
And that played out through the first 22 games with an 11-11 start.
But the Bears have won five straight games -- two wins over Georgia sandwiched around a sweep of East Tennessee State in their first Southern Conference series. Mercer carries that streak to Greenville, South Carolina, this weekend to face Furman.
In its first 22 games, Mercer averaged 5.2 runs per game, scoring 115 runs total. But in its past five games, Mercer has averaged 10.2 runs, scoring 51. The Bears reached double figures in three of their first 22 games but have done so four times in their past five games.
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Kyle Lewis leads the Mercer offense with a .381 batting average, while Matt Meeder is batting .325, and the Bears are second in the nation with 32 home runs. Starting pitcher Eric Nyquist has been strong all season with a 3-1 record and a 1.14 ERA.
Furman is 11-12 overall and 1-2 in conference play. The series opens at 6 p.m. on Friday.
Georgia College senior Shanteona Keys was named to the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) All-America team Thursday, earning honorable mention honors.
Keys finished her career as the program’s all-time leading scorer at 1,822 points, which is sixth in Peach Belt history.
This season, she led the Bobcats and finished fifth in the conference, averaging 17.4 points per game, and she shot 43.8 percent on 3-pointers.
The Georgia College baseball team had its seven-game winning streak snapped Wednesday with an 11-8 loss to Erskine, an NCAA Division II top-10 team.
The Bobcats, however, have improved to 14-13 overall with their current surge, and they have won six straight Peach Belt Conference games to get to 7-8 in the conference.
Georgia College hosts Barry this weekend in non-conference play. The three-game series strts at 6 p.m. on Friday.
MOVING ON UP
Georgia College’s softball team is 30-4 and 7-1 in Peach Belt play, and it jumped to No. 8 in this week’s National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) poll.
Georgia College is tied for the most wins among top-25 teams, and that includes a win over top-ranked Valdosta State.
The Bobcats’ doubleheader with Armstrong State that was originally set for Wednesday and then moved to Thursday has been moved to the end of the schedule.
They host Francis Marion on Saturday and UNC Pembroke on Sunday.
LOOKING TO STAY PERFECT
The Mercer men’s lacrosse team has won its first two Southern Conference games, beating High Point 12-11 and Furman 11-10.
The Bears (2-5 overall) look to stay perfect in conference play when they host Bellarmine at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Chris Rahill leads the Bears with 18 points (10 goals), while Chris Baxa has 12 points (10 goals), and Tim Geran has 11 points.
The Mercer women are 3-5 overall and lost their conference opener last week, 15-8 to Detroit Mercy. The Bears travel to Furman on Saturday.