Baseball Knocks Mercer Out of the Park

Kyle Nanton

Photo by Grace Singer

The Jacksonville University baseball team (20-12, 10-5 A-sun) found themselves on the good side of three extremely close victories this past weekend in Macon, Georgia.

Friday, April 8 the first game between JU and Atlantic Sun opponent Mercer University (22-13, 8-9 A-sun) was played. The contest started very slow for the Fins, as they found themselves down 6-1, four innings into the game.

Then the tides turned for JU, as they took advantage of a Mercer fielding mistake and capitalized with a Grand Slam by sophomore CF Daniel Gulbransen. This lead to six unanswered runs scored by JU, and lead to the 7-6 victory in game one for the Dolphins.

In game two of the series, the bats took off for JU, notching 15 hits and scoring 9 runs. That being said the story was the durability of senior Matthew Tomshaw who tossed another eight innings for the Dolphins. JU head coach Terry Alexander was very pleased by his lefty pitchers efforts.

“Matthew did another great job for us tonight and it gave us the series,” Alexander said.

The quality balance of play from the dolphins allowed the fins to take game two of the series 9-6 in somewhat of a comfortable fashion.

In the third and final matchup of the series on April 10 JU and Mercer battled to the end. During the first three innings of the game both teams posted zeroes on the scoreboard until the Bears went up 1-0 in the fourth. In the following inning Mercer extended their lead to four after they hit two doubles and a sac fly in the inning that plated three.

The Dolphins sticks came alive in the seventh inning when senior Alex Swenson hit a two-run single. Then fellow senior Esterlin Perozo added an RBI single of his own. The score was evened after the efficient inning by JU.

The Bears then broke that tie in the eighth making the score 5-4. In the ninth, though, DH Jimmy Howick’s clutch hitting knotted the game up once again sending the game into extras. JU spent little time making moves in extra innings, because Gulbransen scored on a wild pitch to take the lead 6-5. This was enough to book the three game sweep over Mercer leaving coach Alexander proud and positive.

“I’m not sure how we pulled it out but I’m proud of how we fought today,” Alexander said. “This was a big weekend for us and hopefully we have turned a corner.”

JU plans to ride the momentum wave into their next matchup Tuesday, April 12, against Georgia Southern University.