Skyhawks use hot start, complete-game effort from freshman left-hander to knock off No. 26 Missouri State
No. 26 Missouri State opens non-conference set with Skyhawks Friday evening at Hammons Field
Bears, Jayhawks will meet for 6:05 p.m. game at Hoglund Ballpark in Lawrence
Senior second baseman delivers two-out, two-run single in 10th to help MSU claim another MVC series
MSU looks to strengthen position in MVC standings against defending league champs
2014: Merciez turned in his best season as a Bear, recording a 3.48 earned run average over 33.2 innings spanning a team-high 21 appearances out of the bullpen...Enters his final collegiate campaign just five mound appearances (52) shy of the Bears' career top 10 for games pitched...Worked 10.2 innings over nine appearances (Feb. 14-March 29) without allowing an earned run to start the season...Posted 2.0 hitless frames March 28 to help the Bears knock off Southern Illinois...Earned his first career win in his 44th appearance as a Bear April 11 at Bradley; followed that effort by striking out a season-high four Braves over 3.0 hitless innings the next day...Logged a season-best 4.0 innings as part of the Bears' 7-2 win over Bradley at the MVC Championship (May 22); fanned three while allowing just one run on four hits...Named to CoSIDA's Academic All-District 6 squad...Went 9-1 with a 1.28 ERA in 20 outings for the San Luis Obispo Blues of the California Collegiate League over the summer.
2013: Made 14 appearances out of the Bears' bullpen as a sophomore, going 0-2 with a 5.18 earned run average...Worked 2.0 scoreless innings in MSU's 8-1 win over Alcorn State (Feb. 22) at the Southern Miss Invitational...Held Northwestern State to a single unearned run in an inning of work March 2...Turned in a career-high 3 2/3 innings at Arkansas State (March 13), striking out three in an eventual 7-5 setback...Followed that effort with 3.0 solid innings to help preserve an 8-2 road win over NCAA participant New Mexico (March 19), striking out a career-best four batters...Logged his best outing of the season May 7 vs. Oral Roberts, matching his personal best for strikeouts with four K's over three hitless innings...Pitched over the summer for Glens Falls of the Perfect Game Collegiate League, going 0-2 with a 3.80 ERA with 20 strikeouts over 23.2 innings of work...Received his first MVC Commissioner's Academic Excellence Award and a spot on the conference's academic honor roll for the second consecutive year.
2012: Turned in a strong rookie campaign for the Bears, posting a 4.78 earned run average and two saves in 18 relief appearances...Logged a 3.72 ERA in 10 home outings...Made his Missouri State debut Feb. 18, against Tennessee Tech, working 3.2 innings and allowing just one run on one hit to help preserve a 10-8 victory...Tossed 2.0 scoreless innings vs. Stephen F. Austin (Feb. 24) to notch his first career save...Earned his second save March 9, in a 3-0 blanking of SIU Edwardsville, combining with Nick Petree on a two-hit shutout; worked the final 3.0 innings, striking-out a career-best five hitters without giving up a hit...Closed out the Bears' March 13, loss to Purdue with two scoreless innings of relief...Turned in his fourth-consecutive scoreless outing March 25 to help preserve a 5-3 win over Creighton that completed the Bears' three-game sweep...Allowed his first runs since March 4 in the Bears' 9-8 win over Kansas (March 27), giving up two runs over 2 2/3 innings...Worked a career-long 5.0 innings, allowing two earned runs on just three hits while striking out four in a 6-5 loss at Dallas Baptist (March 30)...One of four MSU pitchers to combine on a 3-0 shutout of Kansas State (April 11), working a scoreless seventh inning...Tossed a scoreless inning to help the Bears knock off Wichita State and secure their first regular-season road series win over the Shockers (April 21)...Worked 4.0 innings vs. Southern Illinois (April 28), allowing just one run on three hits while fanning a career-best five Salukis...Allowed one run or less in five of his final seven outings of the season (April 4-May 9).
Background: Merciez came to MSU after a standout prep career at Bartlesville (Okla.) High...Went 7-2 with a 2.29 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 55 innings for the Bruins as a junior...Earned all-district honors in football as a kicker for a Bartlesville program that went 16-7 over the last two seasons and won the school's first playoff game in 20 years in 2009.
Personal: Zachary Joseph Merciez is the son of Danny and Juli Merciez...Father played football at Missouri State in the late 1980s...Born October 20, 1992, in Springfield, Mo...Majoring in psychology and minoring in human resources at MSU.