MORRIS – Austin Mereness couldn’t have picked a better time for his first hit of the season.
In fact, the first one worked out so well for the Sycamore baseball team that he did it again.
Mereness hit a pair of home runs Thursday and finished with five RBIs to help lead the Spartans to a 10-7 win over Morris in Northern Illinois Big 12 East action.
After Danny Borgstrom gave Morris a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first with a solo homer, Mereness, hitting eighth in the Sycamore lineup, came up with two runners on and two outs in the top of the second. He got a pitch to his liking and drove it over the fence in right to give the Spartans (11-5, 3-3) a 3-1 lead.
Later, after Morris tied the game at 4, Mereness delivered the big blow in a five-run sixth inning for Sycamore, blasting a two-run homer that was a near carbon copy of the first one and put the Spartans ahead, 9-4.
Sycamore tacked on an insurance run in the top of the seventh, then held off a Morris rally in the bottom half in which the team scored three times and had the tying run at the plate when the game ended.
“No lead is ever safe in this park,” Sycamore coach Jason Cavanaugh said. “Not with the wind blowing out the way it was today. It was nice to see Austin come up big. Those were his first two hits of the year. He had been battling back from some injuries and had a couple of better at-bats in our last game, so it was good to see him get some good contact today.”
Winning pitcher James Marcinkowski went 3 for 3 with a home run and a sacrifice fly for the Spartans while keeping a Redskin offense that had scored 13 runs Tuesday at bay.
“James came in and threw well,” Cavanaugh said. “For some reason, he seems to throw better in relief than he does when he starts. In these third games of series, it’s a battle of bullpens and we did pretty well today.
“It’s always fun to play Morris. [Morris coach} Todd [Kein] gets the most out of his guys and they always give you a battle. They could have easily folded up their tents when it was 10-4, but they got it to 10-7 and had the tying run at the plate when the game ended.”
Marcinkowski allowed two runs in 32/3 innings before giving way to Zach Carlsen for the final two innings.