Baseball Drops Pair of Games at FGCU on Saturday
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Belmont baseball team (30-21, 13-10) dropped a pair of games at Florida Gulf Coast (21-28, 12-11) on Saturday afternoon. The Bruins fell by a score of 1-0 in game one, and then fell to the Eagles in the ninth by a score of 5-4 in the back half of the doubleheader.
Junior Chase Brookshire (Chattanooga, Tenn.) was credited with just his second Atlantic Sun Conference loss of the season after allowing only one run on four hits in the first game of the day. The lefty suffered from a pair of walks and a couple of singles in the first inning, forfeiting the only FGCU run of the contest.
Brookshire pitched seven innings, striking out six batters but walking a season-high five before handing the ball over to freshman Austin Coley (Murfreesboro, Tenn.). Coley pitched a perfect frame in the eighth before the Eagles held Belmont off for the 1-0 win.
The Bruins outhit Florida Gulf Coast 8-5 in the game, which included two-hit outing by senior captain Zac Mitchell (Cordova, Tenn.) and freshman Matt Beaty (Dresden, Tenn.), but failed to convert any of their opportunities against starter Ricky Knapp. The Eagles' ace pitched his third complete game shutout of the season, breaking an FGCU single-season record.
The Eagles struck first again in the second game of the day, this time scoring three runs in the third inning. Four singles and a walk off of starting pitcher Matt Hamann (Northbrook, Ill.) gave FGCU the lead. It was not until the top of the sixth of game two that Belmont tallied its first run of the series. The Bruins added two more after that to tie the game at 3-3 through five and a half.
Junior captain Drew Turner (Shelbyville, Tenn.) led off with an infield single, one of four hits in the game for the right fielder, and advanced to second when Beaty reached on an error. Junior Judah Akers (Cookeville, Tenn.) then singled to right center field to load the bases for the Bruins.
Senior Dylan Craig finally got Belmont on the board, ripping a single through the left side of the infield to drive in Turner. Following a FGCU double play, freshman Alec Diamond (Kennesaw, Ga.) drove in a pair of runs on a single to left field to tie the game at 3-3.
After Hamann shut the Eagles down with a one-two-three frame in the bottom of the sixth, Belmont took its first lead of the series with one run in the seventh. Mitchell singled up the middle and Turner doubled down the left field line before FGCU went to the bullpen for the first time on Saturday. R.J. Brown relieved Jason Forjet, but Mitchell scored from third on a passed ball to give BU the lead.
The Belmont lead was short lived as the Eagles scored one in the home half of the seventh to make it 4-4. After an empty eighth for both teams, and the Bruins coming up empty in the ninth, Florida Gulf Coast won the second game of the day on a walk, a hit by pitch, and a pair of singles to make it 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth.
FGCU totaled five runs on 13 hits and three errors in game two. Brown improved to 2-0 on the year after pitching two and two thirds innings of shutout baseball, allowing just one hit, and striking out four. Ryan Gebhart led the Eagles in the second game with three hits.
Belmont finished with four runs on 10 hits and one error. Freshman Dan Ludwig (Naperville, Ill.) fell to 4-5 on the season after being credited for the final run of the game after recording one strikeout, a walk, and a hit by pitch in the ninth inning. Turner led the Bruins with four hits and a run scored in the second game of the day, while Akers and Craig both recorded two-hit games.
The Bruins and the Eagles will return to action on Sunday for the final game of the series in Fort Myers. The contest is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. CT. Fans can follow along with live audio on the Bruins Sports Network, live stats at FGCUAthletics.com, and the Belmont Baseball Twitter feed.