Mercer's late surge does in Buccaneers

Johnson City Press • Mar 31, 2018 at 10:15 PM

East Tennessee State held the nation’s third-ranked scoring offense to one run for most of the game Saturday, but a late rally allowed Mercer to beat Buccaneers 8-4 in the Southern Conference series finale at Thomas Stadium.

The Bears won all three games in the series.

Senior Russell Koesters took the hill against a Mercer team that ranks in the top five in scoring, on base percentage, home runs and hits. He allowed just one run on six hits through six innings in a quality start.

After Koesters’ final inning, ETSU’s offense piled on the runs in the bottom frame. The tying run came across as Chris Cook singled through the right side to bring home Sean Kearney.

Two at-bats later, Caleb Longley banged a double off the right-center field wall, driving in Cook and Christian Bailey to give ETSU a 3-1 lead.

Cade Gilbert followed Longley in the six spot, continuing ETSU’s rally with an RBI single up the middle to put the Bucs up 4-1.

After a smooth seventh inning for Drew Korzybski and the ETSU defense, Mercer began to surge back with six outs to go.

The Bears produced a couple of eighth inning runs on an RBI single and wild pitch before scoring five times in the ninth. The go-ahead runs came on a bases-loaded triple by David Posas — one of six Mercer starters hitting above .300 this season.

Longley had two RBIs for ETSU, which was held to four hits by four Mercer pitchers.

The Bucs fell to 2-4 in the SoCon and 14-10 overall while first-place Mercer is now 5-1, 23-6. The loss marks the first time since last season ETSU has suffered a series sweep.

ETSU will look to rebound in midweek action Wednesday at Radford before coming back to Thomas Stadium to host VMI April 6-8. ETSU is 3-0 in midweek action this season.

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