The senior pitching combination of Eric Nyquist and Morgan Pittman has been important for the Mercer baseball team the entire season.
That continued Thursday in the Southern Conference tournament.
Nyquist went five strong innings, allowing two early runs, and Pittman came on to throw 3-1/3 scoreless innings with five strikeouts as the Bears beat The Citadel 3-2. Dimitri Kourtis closed the game with his third save of the season.
Mercer (32-21) next plays at 12:30 p.m. on Friday in Charleston, South Carolina, and will face VMI, a 6-5 winner over UNC Greensboro on Thursday.
“This was a huge win for us,” Mercer head coach Craig Gibson said in a release. “It is always important to get a win in the opening game and settle in. We got some great support from our starting pitcher, and then Pittman and Kourtis were both fantastic down the stretch. It wasn’t a great offensive performance (Thursday) morning, but we were good enough when it counted.”
All of Mercer’s runs came off the bat of sophomore catcher Charlie Madden. Trailing 2-0, the Bears responded in the third. Kyle Lewis got the rally started with a one-out walk, and Jackson Ware then reached on an error. Danny Edgeworth walked ahead of a strikeout for Howard Joe.
Madden came through with the clutch two-out hit to right field to give the Bears the lead. Mercer finished with six hits, while The Citadel had seven.