Mercer baseball falls 6-3 to North Florida

MACON, Georgia (MERCER RELEASE) – The Mercer baseball team was held to a season-low two hits in a series opening 6-3 loss to North Florida on Saturday evening at Claude Smith Field.

Mercer’s (20-7, 5-2 A-Sun) two hits are its fewest in a game since racking up three base knocks on a loss to Indiana State in March of 2013.

Senior Nick Backlund was the Bears best hitter on the night going 1-for-3 with a double and three RBI. Backlund propelled Mercer to an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when he laced a two out RBI double into right center that scored senior Michael Massi all the way from first base.

North Florida tied the game up at 1-1 in the top of the third off Mercer starter Brandon Barker when Trent Higginbothem guided an RBI single up the middle.

It would be all UNF from there, as the Ospreys scored five runs over the next three innings of play to pull away from the Bears. Higginbothem had the big swing in the rally, crushing a two-run home run to left center to make the score 6-1 in favor of the visitors.

Backlund delivered a sacrifice fly in the sixth and an RBI groundout in the eighth, but it wouldn’t be enough as Dan Vansickle tossed two scoreless innings of relief to close out the win for the Ospreys.

Barker took the loss for Mercer despite throwing a season-long six innings after allowing six runs, three of which were earned, on 12 hits.

Mercer concludes its series with North Florida tomorrow with a doubleheader starting at 12 noon at Claude Smith Field.