May 11, 2011
ATHENS-----John Moreland hit a three-run home run and the Mercer bullpen pitched seventh shutout innings to lead the Bears to a 4-2 win over Georgia Wednesday at Foley Field.
Mercer (30-17) struck for a run in the first when leadoff hitter Billy Burns smacked a double and scored on a base hit by Jacob Tanis. Georgia (24-24) responded with a two-out, two-run single from junior catcher Carson Schilling in the second. However, the Bears came right back off left-hander Chase Hawkins. Joe Winker led off the third with a single and then with two outs, Austin Barrett lined a single to set up Moreland who connected for his 10th home run of the season. His three-run shot gave the Bears a 4-2 advantage and proved to be the difference.
Justice French tossed four shutout innings in relief of Brandon Love to pick up the victory. He improved to 4-2 while Hawkins dropped to 2-3. Both teams used several pitchers on the night as is customary in midweek matchups. Mercer hadn't played a game in 10 days. Along with French, Russell Moses, Jacob Matthews and JT Odom held the Bulldogs in check the rest of the way. Odeom pitched the final 1.2 innings with three strikeouts for his fourth save.
"We're not having very good at bats, and it's frustrating to be this far in the season and not be able to put together good innings," said Georgia coach David Perno. "We've worked hard on both ends to pitch and hit well with these guys, and we have a very small margin of error. Our offense was disappointing. We pitched well for the most part, but I was disappointed that right after we take a lead, we give up a three-run home run. Everybody in the bullpen after that did a nice job for us."
Sophomore left-hander Patrick Boling made his first career start and went two innings and allowed a run on three hits. After Hawkins, Bryan Benzor, Earl Daniels, Michael Palazzone and Blake Dieterich blanked the Bears for the final six frames. Levi Hyams and Kyle Farmer had two hits apiece for the Bulldog offense.
The Bulldogs (25-24, 14-10 SEC) return to Southeastern Conference action Friday against Kentucky (22-17, 5-19 SEC) in Lexington. First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m.