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Thursday, Oct 28, 2021

Softball struggles at home

In the Mercer Bears Classic last weekend, the Mercer softball team did not have their best showing in the 2-3 outcome.
To kick off the Mercer Bears Classic, the Bears went 1-1 falling first to Central Arkansas 8-5 in 10 innings and then picking up a nice 13-5 win over Northern Kentucky in game two.
Mercer was led by junior Krista Kennedy who went 4-5 with three homeruns and five RBI on the day. Senior Kerri Nidiffer threw 4.1 scoreless innings in her appearance in game two.
In game one, junior Kristen Bretscher received the start inside the circle before classmate Julia Rice took over in the fourth inning. Mercer was trailing 3-0 until Bretscher knocked in her first-career RBI driving Kennedy from third.
Mercer tied things up in the fifth as both junior McKenzie Woody and freshman Kaytlin Haney each scored off a two-out double down the left field line by sophomore Rachel Hugghins.
In the seventh inning, The Bears were trailing 4-3 until Kennedy racked up her fourth homerun of the season to send the ballgame into extra-innings.
For the first two innings of extras, both Mercer and Central Arkansas went scoreless until UCA scored four in the top of the 10th off three hits and a Mercer error.
After the disappointing late game loss in game one, the Bears turned things around to get the win against NKU. Mercer jumped out to the early lead as Woody came across in the first of a Norse error.
Northern Kentucky responded the next inning, scoring all five of their runs in the inning, four of which came off of a grand slam.
The NKU homerun put the Bears behind 5-1, but Mercer fought back scoring 12 unanswered runs after that.
Senior Sarah Santana finished going 2-for-4 with a game-high five RBI. The five RBI for Santana gave her 16 for the season, trailing Kennedy by four with the team-lead of 20.
On the second day of the Mercer Bears Classic, the Orange and Black salvaged yet another split as the team both won and lost to Chattanooga.
In game one, the Bears finished with a 3-2 win, but then fell to the Mocs 8-2 in game two.
Mercer was trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the sixth inning of the first game and was desperate for some offense. After Santana led off the inning being hit by a pitch, Kennedy moved into scoring positions with a single to right field as Santana was narrowly thrown out at third. Freshman Ashton Holt advanced Kennedy to third with a single of her own, thus setting the stage for Hugghins and her late-inning heroics.
Hugghins fought off several pitches with a full-count before connecting with her first homerun of her Mercer career—a three-run shot that ended up counting as the game winning runs.
The Bears didn’t start off too well in the second game against the Mocs. Mercer fell behind early and watched seven runs come across by the end of the fifth.
Haney accounted for three of the Bears’ seven hits in the game, finishing 3-for-four. Santana and Kennedy each had RBI in the game, moving their team-leading season totals to 17 and 21 respectively.
To wrap up tournament play, the Mercer softball team finished the last day of the Mercer Bears Classic with a third loss to Central Arkansas in a disappointing blowout, 10-0.
Rice picked up her fourth loss of the season in throwing four innings and allowing 10 runs.
Central Arkansas scored four in the second and three in both the third and fourth innings while limiting the Bears to just three hits on the day.
Holt had a solid day at the plate going 2-for-2 with a single and a double.
Mercer next opens up Atlantic Sun Conference play next weekend at home as East Tennessee State heads to Sikes Field for a three-game series. The Bears take on the Lady Bucs in a double header next Saturday at 1 p.m.


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