DELAND, Fla. (School Release) - The Mercer baseball team received a quality start from sophomore Grant Papelian and some productivity from its line-up, but the Bears bullpen faltered late in a 6-4 loss at Stetson on Saturday afternoon at Melching Field.
Mercer drops to 18-7 overall and 3-2 in Atlantic Sun Conference play with the loss while Stetson improves to 11-12 overall and 1-1 in league play with the win.
The Bears lit up the scoreboard first in the top of the third when junior Sasha LaGarde followed up a double from senior Logan Gaines with an RBI single to put Mercer in front, 1-0.
In what would be a reoccurring theme on the day, Stetson had an answer to the Bears run production in the bottom half of the frame after a Mercer error and an RBI single by Kevin Fagan tied the game at 1-1.
With the score tied at 2-2 starting the seventh inning, it looked like Mercer delivered the knockout punch with a pair of runs in the frame. RBI doubles by sophomore Chesny Young and junior Austin Barrett made the score 4-2 Bears.
Papelian, who had pitched brilliantly all day long, departed the game after starting the bottom of the eighth by giving up back-to-back singles.
Everything fell apart from there for the Bears, as a trio of Mercer relievers failed to get the job done and allowed four runs to cross the plate in the frame. Four RBI singles delivered by the home team in the inning made the score 6-4 Stetson when all was said and done.
Papelian's final line in a no-decision was seven innings pitched, three earned runs, one walk and four strikeouts.
LaGarde paced the Mercer offense by going 2-for-5 with two RBI in the loss.
Mercer and Stetson will now play a rubber match in its three-game series on Sunday afternoon. Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Melching Field.