CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The Mercer baseball squad defeated No. 2 Miami, 8-5, on Saturday night. The Bears were out-hit 10-5, but took advantage of their opportunities in starting the season with their second straight win.
For the second straight night, the Hurricanes (0-2) plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning. Senior left-hander Blake Quarles retired the first two batters before Yonder Alonso and Mark Sobolewski delivered back-to-back singles. Following a walk to right fielder Dennis Raben, Gus Menendez recorded a two-run single scoring Alonso and Sobolewski.
Mercer tied the score, 2-2, on Billy Shaughnessy’s two-run blast in the fourth inning. Shaughnessy belted senior right-hander Danny Gil’s 0-2 offering just inside the foul pole down the left-field line.
Miami took back the lead in the bottom half of the fourth when Jason Lowey came in relief of Quarles. With two outs and the bases loaded, Lowey hit Sobolewski with a pitch, giving the Hurricanes a 3-2 advantage.
The Bears battled back again in the fifth as Matt Crawford led off with a walk and on a nicely executed hit-and-run, Crawford advanced to third on a Tyler McCarty single down the right-field line. With Tyler Brown batting, Gil threw a wild pitch allowing Crawford to score and even up the score at three runs apiece.
Teddy Kaufman relieved Gil with one out in the inning and hit Eric Renfroe with a pitch. The ‘Canes then turned to Jason Santana out of the bullpen with the bases loaded and Mike Armstrong at the plate. Armstrong produced an RBI fielder’s choice giving Mercer the lead at 4-3.
In the back-and-forth affair, Miami knotted up the score again on a sacrifice fly by Nick Freitas that scored Menendez in the bottom of the fifth. With the score tied a four, the Hurricanes struck again as freshman Ryan Jackson notched his first collegiate hit, scoring Blake Tekotte, and putting Miami back ahead, 5-4.
Mercer took advantage on a pair of Miami miscues in the seventh. McCarty scored when Shaughnessy was hit by a pitch, and Steven Karwatt followed with a high fly ball in front of home plate. Catcher Jason Haggerty and relief pitcher Carlos Gutierrez had some communication problems on the play, and Gutierrez dropped the ball allowing Brown to score the go-ahead run and give the Bears a 6-5 lead.
Armstrong added some insurance with a two-run home run in the ninth.
Andy Campbell registered the win for Mercer throwing two innings of no-hit, shutout relief. Raben was charged with the loss allowing one unearned run in 0.2 innings of work. Cory Gearrin came in and notched his second save in as many days striking out four in the final 1.2 innings
Quarles went three innings and allowed two earned runs on six hits and Hurricanes’ starter Danny Gil no-hit the Bears through 3.2 innings, but only retired two more batters before his departure. He allowed four earned runs on three hits while striking out four batters.
Armstrong finished the game 1-for-3 with three RBIs, two runs scored and a home run, and Shaughnessy chipped in three RBIs, one run scored and one home run.
Before yesterday’s victory, Mercer’s last win over Miami came in 1975 and they were 1-27 all-time versus the Hurricanes.
The third game of the series, which was scheduled for Sunday afternoon, was rained out.
The last time Miami lost its opening series of the season was in 1967 against Florida State.