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Vikings face tough loss, then pick up steam

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Get your balls and bats ready because the men at Mercer are back at it. Fresh off their 4-3 record in the Myrtle Beach Invitational tournament, the Vikings are ready to get back into regular season action.

The men at Mercer had their hands full when they took the field against Gloucester County College.  It seemed like an ordinary game, but little did the Vikings know it would prove to be one of their biggest tests of the season.

Mercer found themselves in a hole right off the bat.  In the top of the first inning right-hander John DeGroodt was trying to work out of a bases loaded no out jam.  It didn’t faze the sophomore from Orange, New York; he rallied to strike out the next two batters and escaped the inning allowing only one run.  It was a cold day and the Vikings’ bats took time to heat up.   Mercer’s offense was blanked in four consecutive innings.

Meanwhile, Coach Matt Wolski found himself in a juggling routine with his pitching staff.  The Vikings put seven different pitchers on the hill that evening, each throwing for a max of two innings. However, Gloucester didn’t have trouble facing the Vikings staff and were already up 3-0 in the bottom of the fifth inning.  Finally, Mercer struck for a run in the bottom of the fifth.  Trailing 3-1 it seemed as if the Vikings were poised for a comeback, but that was quickly put to rest when Gloucester was able to score two runs in the top of the sixth vs. left hander Doug Grey.

Now trailing 5-1 things looked bleak for the men in green and gold.  “If our intensity was as high as it was at the end of the game throughout the entire game, we would find ourselves in a much better position to win ball games,” said Coach Wolski.

The pressure was on, but the Vikings didn’t back down.  Mercer rallied to score two in the seventh as well as a run in the eighth and ninth innings.  Energy was high and Mercer found themselves in a brand new ball game as it went into extra innings.  The Vikings took care of business in the top of the tenth, and now it was up to the offense to seal the deal on the comeback victory.  However, the Vikings failed to score a run and the game now headed to the eleventh inning. Gloucester put up three runs in the eleventh to put the Vikings away 8-5 in a crushing defeat. The loss dropped the Vikings record to 10-6, and Mercer knew they had just let a very winnable game slip through their fingertips.

Since the loss to Gloucester, Mercer has been on a roll.  The team is 3-1 in their last four games, improving their record to 13-7.  There’s still a lot of ball left to be played, including five home games in the month of April, and a rematch with Gloucester on Tuesday April 28.

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