NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont will attempt to snap a three-game losing streak, hosting Mercer in a three-game series Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Bruins will host the Bears at 4:00 p.m. Friday, 1:00 p.m. Saturday, and 1:00 p.m. Sunday as the two teams compete in the first Atlantic Sun Conference action of the season.
Mercer finished the 2010 regular season in second place in the conference with a league mark of 16-11. The Bears went on to win the A-Sun Championship and earn a trip to the NCAAs. Mercer has opened the 2011 campaign just as they finished last season; winning. The Bears are 9-2 and are on a six-game winning streak. During their last five contests they have outscored their opponents 64-5, including a 24-1 win over Florida A&M in seven innings on Tuesday. Matt McCall and Brandon Love, who are projected to start games one and two of this weekend's series, have been leading the Bears on the mound in the early going. McCall is 1-0 with an ERA of 1.93, 10 strikeouts and only one walk in two appearances, while Love is 2-0 with an ERA of 1.64, 14 strikeouts and four walks in his two games. Mercer currently has seven players with a batting average over .300 with over 25 at bats. Joe Winker leads the way with a mark of .536, two doubles, five home runs and 19 runs batted in.
Since the two teams first met in 2002, Belmont and Mercer are all knotted up at 15-15 in the all-time series. In their first ever series against each other back in '02, the Bears took two of three against the Bruins in Macon. The same result occurred when they met last season at Mercer. The series is also tied at six games a piece when Mercer and Belmont play in Nashville, Tenn.
Senior Derek Hamblen (Plano, Texas), and juniors Dylan Craig (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) and Zac Mitchell (Cordova, Tenn.), have been leading Belmont at the plate early in the 2011 season. Hamblen is batting .333 with two doubles, a homer, and a team high 11 runs scored. Craig also has one home run, while adding six RBI and a .357 batting average. Mitchell, who reached base five times in Belmont's last game, is batting .303 with two doubles.