Four-run second keys Mercer in 7-2 win at VMI
The Mercer Bears scored four runs in the second inning to take a lead they would not surrender, en route to a 7-2 win over the VMI Keydets in the opener of a three-game SoCon baseball series Friday in Lexington, Va.
VMI (15-24, 8-8 SoCon) led 2-1 after an inning, but #9 hitter Nate Moorhouse beat out a potential double play to plate the tying run. That started a four-run uprising that including a RBI single by Matt Meeder, a RBI double by Devin Bonin and a bases-loaded walk to Danny Edgeworth. That put the Keydets behind 5-2, and Mercer (27-18, 12-6) would add single runs in the fifth and sixth to cap the scoring.
On the mound, the starters got the decisions as Austin Heenan dropped to 0-6 on the year. He gave up six runs in 4 1/3 innings, walking five and striking out two. Eric Nyquist surrendered two runs, one earned, in seven innings to vault to 6-2.
Mercer drew first blood against Heenan, as Kyle Lewis launched a solo shot with two outs in the first inning. Lewis’ 11th home run of the year put the Bears ahead, 1-0.
For the fifth straight game, the Keydets scored in the first inning. Ray Lopez led off with a single and stole second, ahead of Jordan Tarsovich reaching via error. David Geary followed with a RBI single and one out later, Tyler Tharp drove in a run with a groundout to put the Keydets in front, 2-1.
Nyquist, however, would settle in from there as the Keydets managed just four hits against him and a pair of relievers the rest of the way. Mercer then took the lead in the second and expanded upon it in the fifth, when Trey Truitt led off with a single and moved up on a sacrifice bunt. He advanced to third via a balk by Heenan and scored on a RBI single by Moorhouse to make it 6-2, Mercer.
The Bears capped the scoring against Jack Gomersall in the sixth, when they scored a run on a balk to account for the final margin. In the positive note of the evening for VMI, the team’s final three relievers – Micah Gorman, Blaine Lafin and Matthew Eagle – combined for three hitless innings and allowed just one baserunner.
Offensively, four Mercer players had two-hit games, including Bonin’s 2 for 5, two runs scored evening. Brandon Angus had the lone two-hit game for the Keydets.
VMI baseball will return to action Saturday, when the Keydets and Mercer tangle in the middle game of their series. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.