Mercer holds off VMI Keydets in slugfest, 10-6
In a contest permeated by the home run, the Mercer Bears scored seven of the game’s last eight runs to prevail over the VMI Keydets, 10-6, in the opener of a three-game SoCon series contested Thursday night in Lexington, Va. In the process, Mercer (30-6, 9-1 SoCon) extended its winning streak to nine consecutive games.
The long ball was in play from the very beginning, as the teams combined for four homers in the first inning alone. The squads would go on to combine for six total, but it was a two-run homer by Alex Hanson of Mercer in the sixth inning that gave the visitors breathing room in what had been just a one-run game.
VMI (17-17, 4-6) got a run back in the bottom of the inning, but Mercer scored single runs in the seventh and ninth to account for the final margin.
Four VMI players had two hits apiece to lead the home team, including Jacob Jaye and Collin Fleischer, who both homered in the game. Mason Adamson also went deep, which was his first career long ball.
Hanson, JT Thomas and Alex Crotty had two hits each for Mercer.
Mercer jumped ahead quickly, as leadoff hitter Ryan Hagan homered on the second pitch of the game. After a double, Thomas followed with a two-run shot and it was 3-0, Bears. Jaye and Fleischer went back to back in the bottom of the inning, and it was 3-2 after one.
The Keydets took the lead in the third, when Jake Huggins singled home a run and two batters later, Adamson launched a two-run homer to make it 5-3, VMI.
Mercer then scored three times in the fourth, the game’s only multi-run inning that did not include a home run. A two-run single by Thomas was the key blow as the Bears took the lead for good, 6-5. The Keydets could only manage one run the rest of the way, primarily against reliever – and winning pitcher – Robert Broom.
Broom picked up the victory to move to 6-1, as he settled the game down for the visitors by allowing just one run over 4 2/3 innings of relief. He added eight strikeouts as well. Starter Matt Eagle (3-2) allowed six runs in four innings to take the loss.
VMI and Mercer resume their series Friday evening at 6 p.m.