GAINESVILLE, Fla. –– Robert Broom tossed six innings of scoreless relief and a pair of freshmen combined for five runs batted in as Mercer defeated No. 1 Florida 6-4 at McKethan Stadium on Tuesday.
The Bears (29-14) notched their third straight victory over Florida (34-9) dating back to 2006. Florida has been ranked in the top 10 nationally – including No. 1 twice (2006, 2018) – in all three of the teams' most recent meetings.
Freshmen RJ Yeager and Le Bassett combined for five RBIs, including three in a pivotal game-tying third inning that helped propel the Bears to the midweek win. Mercer was out-hit 9-7 but made the most of its opportunities against four Gator pitchers.
Mercer capitalized on three consecutive walks to score the game's first run in the opening frame when Le Bassett drew a bases-loaded walk to bring home Trey Truitt, who singled with two outs. Florida responded quickly with four runs on four hits in the home half of the first to bounce Mercer starter Zach Graveno after one inning.
A solo home run by Yeager led off the third inning and jumpstarted a three-run frame for the Bears. After Yeager's long ball cut Florida's lead to two, Bassett deposited a two-run double into the left-center gap that scored Jackson Ware (walk) and JT Thomas (single).
Sawyer Gipson-Long limited Florida to one hit over the second and third innings to bridge the gap to Broom, who closed out the Gators with a career performance on the mound. The junior allowed just four hits over a career-long six innings while striking out 12 batters. He issued just one walk as well.
Mercer plated the go-ahead run in the top of the fourth when Yeager executed a safety squeeze bunt to score Kyle Dockus, who led off the inning with a single and advanced third base on a throwing error and single by Alex Hanson. The Bears added an insurance run in the eighth when Sean McDermott doubled down the left-field line to score Cory Wright, who pinch-ran for Bassett, from first base.