ATLANTA - Former Deerfield-Windsot star and Albany native Evans Boyd hit a two-out double in the eighth inning and scored two of Mercer's four unanswered runs to lead the Bears to a 4-2 upset win against No. 6 Georgia Tech on Tuesday night at Russ Chandler Stadium. The Yellow Jackets' nation-leading win streak ends at 16 games with the loss.
It also ends a 17-game win streak for the Jackets (21-5) over Mercer (18-9) - dating back to 1998.
"The streak is over and we've got to start another one starting on Friday," head coach Danny Hall said. "Give Mercer credit, they pitched it very well and that was probably the key to the game. Their lefty Moses just did a great job of limiting us, we didn't hit many balls hard off of him, and he gave them the chance to win the game."
Boyd's two-out double to the wall in the right field off of Tech freshman reliever Dusty Isaacs scored Jacob Tanis and Boyd's former DWS teammate, Thomas Carroll, in the eighth inning, and concluded a four-run rally for the Bears. Carroll finished 1-for-4, while Boyd, a sophomore, was 1-for-3 --- his only hit being the biggest of the game. Boyd is hitting .270 this season with six doubles, a triple, a home run and 16 RBI. He's started all 27 games. Carroll, meanwhile, has the second-highest batting average on the team at .374. Starting all 27 games also, the senior's hit 11 doubles, a triple and three home runs to go along with 31 RBI --- also second on the team.
"Just a great win for our program over a great team and I am so proud of how tough our guys played tonight," Mercer head coach Craig Gibson said. "Justice French and Russell Moses, two great seniors, pitched great for us (Tuesday night) and Evan Boyd picked us up late with a big two-out hit."
The Orange and Black eventually pulled even with the Jackets in the top of the seventh when junior Billy Burns laid down a perfect bunt for a base hit that scored the sophomore Boyd and tie the game at 2-2.
The Bears continued to harass the Georgia Tech relief pitching in the top of the eighth when Boyd came up, with runners on second and third, and promptly pulled a clutch two-RBI double to right field. That gave Mercer its first lead of the game, 4-2.
Not to be lost in the shuffle of runs Mercer pushed across in the late innings was the stellar relief pitching of senior Moses. Moses, who came on for French in the bottom of the fourth, tossed 5.1 innings of shutout baseball to keep the Yellow Jackets offense at bay and secure the comeback win for the Bears.
"Tonight was a great win for us and I hope we can carry this momentum forward for the rest of the season," said Gibson. "We want to play on this field one more time this season because the way Georgia Tech is going they are on track to host another NCAA Regional."
The Georgia Tech pitching staff had control issues for the better part of the night, walking the leadoff batter in five of the nine innings. Two of Mercer's four runs were scored by runners that drew a leadoff walk.
"When you are in a tight game, and you walk the leadoff hitter in particular, the other team has an easier chance to score," Hall said. "We did that two innings in a row and they end up getting three runs out of it. I think they had one hit in each of those innings, a bunt hit to tie the game and a two out hit to win it. It's the way it goes."
Isaacs fell to 1-1 on the season with the loss, allowing both runs on three hits over 1.1 innings of relief.
Tech was led at the plate by junior Matt Skole, who had three of the Jackets 10 hits.
Moses (2-1) earned the win on the mound after holding the Jackets scoreless over 5.1 innings of relief. Moses entered for Bears' starter French in the fourth inning, and kept the Tech bats off-balance by yielding just four hits the rest of the game.
The Jackets took a 1-0 advantage in the bottom of the first on a RBI double by Skole to right center field. Freshman Kyle Wren scored from second base on the play after leading off the game with a single before stealing second base.
Freshman Chase Butler made it 2-0 for Tech in the fourth inning with a two-out single up the middle that scored Jake Davies from second base.
Tech's Matthew Grimes held Mercer without a hit through the first four frames of his start, but allowed two costly Mercer singles to start the fifth inning. After Grimes struck out Boyd, Mercer's Derrick Workman singled home a run that cut the lead in half.
Grimes went just five innings Tuesday, allowing one run on three hits with five strikeouts. He issued four of Tech's six walks.
Tech will resume conference action with a three game series against Duke at Durham Bulls Athletic Park this weekend. First pitch is at 6 p.m. on Friday, 2 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.