NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Sophomore Hunter Holland (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) kept Belmont baseball in game three against Southeast Missouri with a 5-for-5 day at the plate to secure the series. The Bruins hung around all game, never leading until the final frame to sneak past the Redhawks, 11-10, and close out conference play Sunday afternoon at E.S. Rose Park.
Holland's career day included a pair of long balls in his first two at bats, contributing to three of his four RBIs. After falling in a 4-0 hole to start the game the sophomore ignited Belmont's bats that remained on fire for the rest of the game as the Bruins (26-25, 17-13) scored at least one run in every inning after hanging up a zero in the opening frame. Collectively, the squad tallied 16 hits as everyone in the lineup contributed to the effort.
The Redhawks (25-24, 13-14) got out to a hot start, plating four runs before the Bruins ever collected a hit. They got things going with a run in the first and then followed it up with three more runs - making it a 4-0 game after two frames, but Belmont quickly got things going with a pair of long balls to cut their deficit in half.
Holland registered the Bruins first hit of the game in grand fashion, blasting a homer over the left field fence to bring the squad within three. Senior Tyler Walsh (Evansville, Ind.) then duplicated Holland's play knocking another one over the left field barrier to start off the third and cut BU's deficit in half, 4-2, after three. The long balls kept coming as Holland destroyed another pitch to the same place in his next plate appearance to tie it up, 4-4, in the fourth.
SEMO retook the lead with a pair of runs in the next stanza, stealing home for the first and then using a RBI single from Danny Wright to go up, 6-4. Holland continued to stay hot at the plate, connecting on this third consecutive at bat for his fourth RBI on a base shot to shallow centerfield to keep Belmont within striking distance, 6-5.
Every time the Bruins made a run the Redhawks found a way to separate themselves a little more, doing so again in the sixth with a two-run homer to go up, 8-5. Dan Holst launched his second bomb of the series to right field after a runner got on via BU's second error of the day.
Payne continued the trend, going yard and bringing Belmont's home run total to a season-high four with all of them landing over the left field fence. However, just like clockwork Southeast Missouri found a way to respond with a run of their own and keep it a three-run contest, 9-6, in favor of the Redhawks.
The Bruins refused to go down quietly, tying the game for the second time with a trio of runs in the seventh on three hits and four free bases. Holland registered his fourth hit in as many plate appearances, this time coming in the form of a double to put BU in scoring position. From then on junior Kyle Conger (Brentwood, Tenn.) and Walsh recorded a pair of RBIs to bring them within one before a bases loaded wild pitch would bring in the tying run to make it 9-9.
Belmont finally found a way to get past SEMO in the home half of the eighth, taking their first lead on a bases loaded sacrifice fly from Payne to centerfield. Trailing 10-9 heading into the frame, Holland collected his fifth hit setting up Ben Kocher (Zionsville, Ind.) to knot it up with a two-bagger to right-centerfield. Payne then collected the go-ahead run for another RBI, solidifying Belmont's victory and closing conference play with a victory.
Belmont heads to Evansville for its final road trip of the year, playing the Purple Aces on Tuesday, May 16. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. at Braun Stadium.