MACON, Ga. – Mercer broke the program single-season strikeout record and notched four home runs in a 17-3, series-opening blowout against Alcorn State on Thursday night at OrthoGeorgia Park.
The Bears (32-18) struck out 13 Alcorn State (12-35) batters to surpass the former single-season strikeout record of 522, which was set just last year. Mercer owns a nation-leading 529 strikeouts with six regular season contests remaining.
It was all Mercer – early and often – in the one-sided affair. A three-run home run by Brandon Michie set the tone in the first inning and was followed by a second-inning solo shot by Alex Hanson. The fireworks by Michie and Hanson were more than enough to help Christian Vanncruise through a predetermined four-inning start. Vann allowed just two hits over the four scoreless frames.
Robert Broom relieved Vann and picked up the win with two innings of work; he struck out a team-high four batters while allowing just one hit. Mercer limited Alcorn State to just five hits for the game.
With the Bears leading, 6-0, in the sixth, Trey Truitt connected for his second of three doubles to plate two runners. Truitt eventually scored in the inning when Le Bassett hit a grand slam to make it a 12-run game. It was the first of two home runs by Bassett, who added a two-run shot the next inning as Mercer extended its lead to 17-0.
Mercer held the Braves scoreless until the eighth when Wallace Rios-Jimenez hit a three-run home run to nix the shutout-bid. Caleb Mitchell, Kevin Coulter and Nick Spear closed out the night on the mound for Mercer.
Stat of the Game
Mercer rewrote the program record book on Thursday with a 13-strikeout performance against Alcorn State. The 13 strikeouts helped Mercer set a new single-season record for strikeouts with 529. It is the second straight year the Bears have set a record in the category.
Player of the Game
On a night when the Bears' bats were hot, none was as scorching as Trey Truitt's. The senior right fielder went 3-for-3 with three RBI, four runs scored and two stolen bases while reaching five times in a monster offensive night. After drawing walks in his first two plate appearances, Truitt doubled in three consecutive at-bats to end the game.
Coach Gibson's opening statement:
"It was great to be back at home tonight and play a ball game that we really executed well in," said head coach Craig Gibson. "We had an outstanding start on the mound by [Christian] Vann and all of our bullpen guys were really good for us.
"Defensively we were good; we were in position all evening and didn't have any mental mistakes. We really took advantage of some opportunities offensively. It was simply better baseball by our crew tonight. Hopefully, with six games remaining, we continue to play solid baseball leading up to our trip to Greenville [S.C.] for the SoCon Tournament."
» Mercer: 32-18
» Alcorn State: 12-35
Pitchers of Record
» Win: Robert Broom (9-2)
» Loss: Carlos Lopez (4-3)
» Mercer: Hosts Alcorn State (6 p.m. Friday, May 11 in Macon, Ga.)
» Alcorn State: At Mercer (6 p.m. Friday, May 11 in Macon, Ga.)
» All five Mercer pitchers recorded at least one strikeout in the record-breaking game.
» Le Bassett's two home runs give him a Southern Conference-leading 13 for the season.
» Bassett's six RBI are the most by a Bear this season. He leads Mercer with 44 total RBI.
» Alex Hanson went 3-for-4 with four runs scored and one stolen base. He reached safely for the 71st time in the last 75 games.
» Trey Truitt swiped two of Mercer's four stolen bases.
» Steven Taylor played in his first game since going down with an injury on Feb. 20. He drew a pinch-hit walk and scored one run while logging two innings at shortstop.
» Robert Broom moved within four strikeouts of reaching 100 for the season (96).