Mercer Saves Cowboys Against TCU

STILLWATER - Oklahoma State shortstop slash closing pitcher Jordy Mercer went to hero from goat to hero in the final innings at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium in the NCAA Baseball Stillwater Regional.

The talented junior out of Taloga, Okla., first came on in the top of the eighth with bases loaded and gave up a single and a double allowing TCU to fight within one run at 8-7. Then in the top of the ninth Mercer gave up a lead-off home run to the Frogs' Ben Carruthers that tied the score at 8-8.

Cowboy head coach Frank Anderson came out to pull Mercer but never considered taking him out of the game. Why would you, he had hit two home runs earlier in the game?

Mercer moved back to shortstop where he helped finish off a double play to end the top of the ninth and then in somewhat typical Mercer fashion, he led off the bottom of the inning with a no-doubter shot to left field for an heroic solo home run to give the Cowboys the 9-8 win and move them into Championship Game 1 of the regional with Wichita State at 7 p.m.

Mercer drilled the fastball off the arm of TCU reliever Andrew Cashner that was waist high and it took off. Cowboy fans were on their feet screaming and singing along with "I Dropped a Bomb on You" before Mercer had time to round third and head into the mosh pit that became home plate with all the Cowboys waiting on their team leader and hero.

Mercer has learned to ride the roller coaster of being a key position player at shortstop and also having the role of closing pitcher. Mercer and his Cowboy teammates used the walk-off homer as an occasion to practice their hugs and high fives.

"It's not my first rodeo you could say," said Mercer. "I'm used to the yo-yo, going back to my freshman year it seemed like every time I came on teams would score two or three runs and the samething happened last year over in Arkansas (NCAA Regional)."

"To separate what happened on the mound and to come back and hit a home run to win the game was a huge mental change," said OSU head coach Frank Anderson. "That is a huge mental change to go from one of the low of lows (his pitching and the tying home run) and turn that thing around.

"It's a huge hit when you think of all the emotional things that go into that. It makes it pretty special. He also finished off that double play (Top of the ninth) for us. That could really be big for us," Anderson continued.

A lot of times teams that have had to fight back through the losers side in these four team NCAA Regionals have used a momentum builder like a close game with a dramatic finish to catch fire. The Cowboys will definitely have to do that as they will need to some how piece together two more games on the mound against a hungry Wichita State team that loves nothing more than beating Oklahoma State. (Editor's note: See the story "How Does OSU Beat Wichita State (Twice)" on the front page of

They will no doubt need more of Mercer and could certainly use another pitching start like they got from Matt Gardner against the Horned Frogs. Gardner pitched seven innings giving up just four runs and and six hits. He walked only one TCU hitter and struck out five. It was a solid outing for the senior from Andrews, Texas.

"It was fun to go out and win," said Gardner, who did not get the decision. "It wouldn't have been fun or satisfying if we had lost."

Mercer was all set up to be the hero before his walk-off game winning home run. In the fourth inning, after second baseman Thomas Belza had hit a solo home run onto Duck Street to make it 3-1 in favor of the Cowboys, Mercer hit his first home run of the day out to left. The two-run shot with Donnie Webb aboard gave OSU some perceived breathing room at 5-1.

Mercer's offensive day of three home runs and six RBI tops his earlier high of the season when he hit two homers and had five RBIs in a 25-1 win over Mid-America Christian. Boy, did it ever top that.

Mercer came back in the sixth with a three-run shot down the line in left that crossed about 10 feet inside of the foul pole. Belza and Webb were aboard and things looked really safe at that point with OSU leading 8-2.

It all got crazy in the eighth when the Frogs scored five runs keyed by an RBI single by Matt Vern and a two-run double by Bryan Kervin. Both of those hits came off Mercer before he was able to get Jimmie Pharr to strike out to end the rally. After Mercer allowed Carruthers' lead off homer in the ninth, Robbie Weinhardt was called on to come in and finish out the game.

"Right now, we just need a little rest," said Mercer looking ahead to tonight and the Shockers. "I think we can carry the momentum over. Like coach has been saying these last couple days to just keep grinding and good things will happen. We just have to lay it all on the line tonight."

Hopefully, Mercer will have more to lay on the line. His heroics keep the Cowboys alive at 44-17 on the season. TCU was eliminated at 44-19 on the season and Mountain West Conference champs. The Horned Frog faithful weren't real happy about the outcome as several of their fans were shouting to Wichita State fans to go take care of the Cowboys.

Maybe they should have been telling the Shocker fans to be aware of Jordy Mercer.

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