Led by a 3-for-5 effort from leadoff man Angelo Amendolare (Edgewater, Fla.), the Dolphins pounded out 13 hits, but all were singles.
“Somewhere in there you have to get an extra base hit,” said Head Coach Tim Montez. “I thought (Josh) Baker did a nice job of competing on the mound, but ran out of gas after having a big pitch inning early when they did a great job of fouling off a lot of quality pitches.”
Mercer (18-6; 4-1 A-Sun) forced Baker to throw 26 pitches in the first inning including 13 to Nick Backland won the battle with a two-run double to right center to give Mercer a 2-0 lead in the top of the first.
Jacksonville (5-15; 1-4 A-Sun) would answer back in bottom of the inning scoring in the first for the sixth time in the last seven games. Dylan Dillard (Kissimmee, Fla.) brought the first run home with a RBI ground out to first scoring Amendolare. Scott Schaub (Jacksonville, Fla.) followed with one of his two hits, placing a RBI single to right that scored Marabell who singled earlier in the inning.
The scored stayed there until the fourth when Sasha LaGarde ripped a two-out double down the right field line give Mercer a 3-2 lead. Parker Perez (Edgewater, Fla.) tied it up in the fifth with a ground ball to first that scored Michael Babb (Jacksonville, Fla.) after he led off the inning with a single to right for the first of his two hits in the game.
Leadoff walks in the sixth and the seventh came back to haunt the Dolphins. Mercer tacked on a run in each inning to take a 5-3 lead. The Bears then broke the game open in the ninth scoring four runs on three hits and three walks.
“We are thin right now with our staff and the bull pen has been getting a lot of work,” said Montez. “We ran out of bullets there at the end.”
Amendolare added a RBI single in the ninth to account for the final score. Zach Gordon (St. Petersburg, Fla.) who came on in relief of Baker to start the 6th was charged with the loss.
“These guys just have to stay with it and not give an inch,” concluded Montez. “We still have a lot of baseball ahead of us and that was the message I gave our guys at the end of the game. This game is not easy at any level but it’s something that if they can learn from how they handle adversity then they are going to become better ball players and young men down the road.”
The series concludes on Sunday at 1:00 pm. Tune in on 92.5 FM.