Shortstop Matt Williams had four hits in game two of a doubleheader, Saturday.
The Mercer Bears used a power display in game two of their doubleheader with Liberty, downing the Flames, 17-5, Saturday afternoon at Claude Smith Field.
While the host Bears hit eight home runs in the contest to sweep the twinbill between the two teams, Liberty shortstop Matt Williams went 4-for-5 with a RBI and a run scored in the game. The Flames drop to 0-3 on the year. Mercer, the defending Atlantic Sun Champion, moves to 3-0.
Just like in the first game of the doubleheader, host Mercer plated three runs in the first inning, leaping to a 3-0 advantage. With a runner aboard and one out, third baseman Jacob Tanis hit his first home run of the season to give the Bears an early 2-0 edge. Two batters later, designated hitter Joe Winker connected for his first home run of the year, a solo shot.
Liberty pushed across its first run of the game in the top of the second inning. Catcher Casey Rasmus opened the frame by lining a double down the right field line. Right fielder Michael Robertson followed with a run-scoring single back through the middle to make it, 3-1.
The Bears extended their lead in the bottom of the inning. Left fielder Derrick Workman opened the scoring in the frame with a one-out, RBI single. Later in the inning with the bases full and two out, right fielder Thomas Carroll singled home two more runs to up the Mercer lead to 6-1. Winker followed with his second home run of the contest to give the host team a 9-1 advantage.
Mercer added to its cushion in the third inning. Catcher Travis Benn and Workman led off the frame with back-to-back home runs. Two batters later, center fielder Billy Burns hit a solo home run, giving the Bears a 12-1 lead.
In the fourth inning, Mercer lengthened its lead with three more runs. Carroll scored on Liberty's first fielding error of the season, while Workman provided a RBI single and second baseman D.J. Johnson a RBI double.
The Flames plated two runs in the fifth inning. Williams opened the frame with a one-out triple off the wall in center field and third baseman Tyler Bream walked. Left fielder Doug Bream followed with a double to score both runners, making it, 15-3.
Each team posted a run in the sixth. Williams singled home pinch hitter Tony McClendon, who led off the inning by being hit by a pitch, for Liberty in the top of the frame. In the bottom of the inning, Workman opened the inning with a home run, his second of the contest.
The same held true in the seventh inning. A sacrifice fly by Dalton Sype plated Robertson, who had reached on an error, in the top half of the frame. Winker connected for his third home run of the game in the bottom of the inning for the final score of 17-5.
Starter Mark Swanson takes the loss for the Flames to drop to 0-1. The right-hander allowed eight runs on five hits in 1 2/3 innings, walking two batters.
Mercer reliever David Teasley, the second pitcher in the game for the Bears, picks up the win to move to 1-0 on the year. He pitched a scoreless 2/3 of an inning, ending a Liberty bases loaded rally in the fourth inning.
Besides Williams with four hits, Tyler Bream, Robertson and second baseman Austin Taylor had two hits apiece. The Flames had 13 total hits in the contest. Mercer's Winker led all hitters in the game with five hits, three home runs, five RBIs and four runs scored. Workman added four hits for the Bears, who had 19 hits in the game.
Liberty and Mercer will meet again Sunday in the final game of the four-game, season-opening series for both teams. First pitch at Claude Smith Stadium is scheduled for 1 p.m.