Mercer baseball welcomes tough Alabama State team
When Mercer traveled to Alabama State a week ago, the host Hornets gave the visitors plenty of trouble.
Then the Bears came up with a huge inning late for an eight-run win.
Mercer head coach Craig Gibson was pleasantly surprised.
“We haven’t seen that much this year,” Gibson said of such explosive innings. “And they’ve got a good club. You’ll see (this) week they’re a good baseball team.”
Alabama State brings a two-game winning streak and the fifth-best RPI of Mercer’s non-conference opponents so far to Claude Smith Field for a single game Tuesday.
Alabama State entered Monday night’s action with a 136 NCAA RPI -- updated each Tuesday -- and 146 in the Warren Nolan rankings. That would be good for third among A-Sun teams. Mercer is 35th in the NCAA RPI, 34th in Warren Nolan.
The Hornets have won at South Alabama, at Auburn, at Samford and beaten Eastern Kentucky, all teams with RPIs of 125 or better.
“They’ve beaten everybody over there,” Gibson said. “They’ve got a quality team.”
Alabama State is 26-10, and Tuesday will be the first meeting of the baseball season with two Division I teams owning 25 or more wins.
The Hornets are 13-5 on the road, and Mercer is 18-2 at home.
Alabama State has by far the best overall record among Southwestern Athletic Conference teams and has a six-game lead in the East Division.
The Hornets are tied for 16th nationally with a .307 average and 24th with 17 homers.
Emmanuel Marrero is 94th with a .374 average and tied for second with 39 RBI.
Mercer is 16-5 in non-conference games, thanks to quality pitching.
Freshman Ryan Askew is 2-3 with a 2.83 ERA, Stephen Glaze is 5-0 with a 1.40 ERA, and Ben Lumsden brings 2-2 and 1.61 numbers into Tuesday. Freshman Austin Lord is 1-0 with a 2.51 ERA.
Askew, Glaze, Morgan Pittman and Lumsden struck out 12 with no walks in last week’s win in Montgomery, the Hornets getting all of their runs off of Askew in the first three innings.
The Bears are 59th nationally with a 3.12 ERA and 19th in strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.89).
Mercer visits Georgia State (15-18) on Wednesday and then is at Lipscomb this weekend in A-Sun play.
Mercer and Lipscomb are tied for first in the A-Sun with 10-2 records. Lipscomb is 21-12 overall.http://www.macon.com/2014/04/07/3035434/mercer-baseball-welcomes-tough.html?sp=/99/160/that's all…