Baseball shut out by Mercer, 5-0
Junior Dan Gulbransen
Junior Dan Gulbransen
A pair of two-run homers were all Mercer needed to take down the JU baseball team, 5-0, Saturday in A-Sun action at John Sessions Stadium.

Nick Backlund and Travis Benn each hit a two-out, two-run home run to lift the Bears (28-18, 9-11) to the series win. David Randall (3-4) scattered four hits and fanned eight batters in seven shutout innings to secure the victory on the hill.

“We weren’t ourselves in the game,” JU Terry Alexander said. “It seems like we still were feeling the effects of last night’s extra inning game. Alex (McRae) settled down and pitched well, but we couldn’t get any runs. Tomorrow is a new day and we hope the weekend on a high note.”

The Dolphins (14-30, 4-13) stranded 10 runs on the bases paths to take their seventh straight loss. Freshman Alex McRae (3-6) struck out a season-best eight batters, but allowed five runs, three earned, on nine hits in seven innings for the loss.

Evan Boyd led off the third inning with a double for the Bears. McRae retired the next two hitters before Austin Barrett singled Boyd home for the 1-0 lead. Benn followed with a home run that landed just inside the left field foul pole for a 3-0 advantage.

In the JU fifth inning, sophomore Zachary Houck led off with a bunt single and senior Jonathan Murphy walked to start the frame. After a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners, the Bears intentionally walked junior Adam Brett Walker II to load the bases. The move paid off as Randall induced a double play to quash the threat.

McRae found a grove and scattered two hits over the next two innings for the Dolphins. He got the first two outs of the seventh inning before an error kept the inning alive. Backlund followed with a two-run homer to left field to extend the lead to 5-0.

JU got drew consecutive one-out walks in the bottom of the inning, but Randall picked up two outs to end the innings. David Teasley and Eric Nyquist each added a perfect relief inning to close out the game.

The teams will wrap the series tomorrow in John Sessions Stadium at 1 p.m.