Big First Inning Leads Mercer over Eagles, 9-3
MACON, Ga. – A six-run first inning by Mercer proved to be the difference in the second game of the weekend series, as the Bears snapped the FGCU baseball team’s string of 17 straight Atlantic Sun series victories with a 9-3 win on Saturday night. Mercer took Friday’s opener, 15-6, and is the first conference team to take at least two games from the Eagles over a three-game set since 2009.
The loss evens FGCU’s record at 7-7, but dips their A-Sun mark to 2-3. The Bears, who have won six of their last seven home games, are now 13-4 overall and 4-1 in the league.
For the second straight night, Mercer jumped out to the lead, but unlike Friday, the Eagles were unable to overcome the deficit. The Bears opened the game with six runs in the bottom half of the first, which were all charged to freshman starter Brandon Bixler (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty HS) who failed to record an out.
Junior Jason Forjet (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Nova HS) relieved Bixler in the first and went 5.1 innings before coming out in the sixth. Over his time on the mound, Forjet limited the potent Mercer lineup to a pair of runs and five hits while striking out three. Senior Craig Crumbly (Winter Haven, Fla./Lake Region HS) closed the game for the Eagles with two scoreless innings.
FGCU never got a big threat going against the four different pitchers that took the mound for Mercer, plating one run in the second, seventh and ninth inning, respectively.
Of the seven hits by the Eagles, senior Zach Maxfield’s (North Port, Fla./North Port HS/Pasco-Hernando CC) third home run of season was the only extra-base hit. Junior Javi Sujo (Miami, Fla./Miami Sunset HS/Middle Georgia College) finished 2-for-2 with a run scored from the No. 5 spot in the lineup. Senior Tim Roberson (West Palm Beach, Fla./Palm Beach Central HS) and freshman Jake Foley (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS) each delivered RBI singles.
The third and final game of the weekend will begin at 1 p.m. on Sunday. The Eagles will send senior righty Jack Wagoner (Berlin, Conn./Northwest Catholic/St. Petersburg) to the hill tomorrow. Wagoner is 1-1 with 15 strikeouts over three starts.
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