MACON, Ga. – The Mercer baseball team pounded out 14 hits and 11 runs against East Tennessee State in round one of the 2006 Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament, moving on in the winner's bracket with an 11-3 win.
Brantley New returned to the form that earned him First-Team A-Sun Conference honors, tossing seven innings, allowing seven hits and three runs, with two walks and six strikeouts.
"If we could have drawn up a way to play game one, this was it," head coach Craig Gibson said. "Brantley [New] stepped up big for us as we jumped out with a big inning and were able to conserve our pitching. Now we have to wait and see who we have tomorrow. Either way we will have a tough task ahead of us."
Mercer (33-24) jumped out early with a run in the bottom of the first inning, Sean McCahill walked to lead off the game, Tyler McCarty laid down the sacrifice bunt and Shawn Barrett's double down the right-field line brought McCahill around to score for a 1-0 lead.
Then the Bears' bats exploded for nine runs in the bottom of the third inning, and they never looked back. Mercer added insurance in the bottom of the eighth.
ESTU (29-26) managed single runs in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings but could not get any closer.
Kyle Johnston tossed two big innings of relief, allowing just one hit.
McCahill had a good day for the Bears, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored. Shawn Barrett was 2-for-5 with two RBIs. Josh Thompson was a perfect 3-for-3 with his 15th double of the season, a run scored and an RBI. John Dortch also had a solid day for the Bears, going 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBIs.
The Bears move into the winner's bracket and will face host Stetson tonight at 7 p.m. ETSU drops into the losers' bracket and will play Campbell on Thursday at in the tournament's first elimination game.
For full bracket breakdowns and tournament results go to www.Atlanticsun.org.