NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Belmont University Baseball split a double header with Toledo on Sunday. The Bruins fell 13-10 in the first game and defeated the Rockets 5-2 in game two.
Freshman Joshua South (Cookeville, Tenn.) got the start on the mound in game one for the Bruins. South came out hot, forcing three straight fly balls to left field for three quick outs in the top of the first inning.
Game one of the double header proved to be a pitchers dual for the first couple of innings, with the only hit from either side coming from junior Chandler Adkins (Knoxville, Tenn.) in the bottom of the second.
Toledo broke the deadlock in the top of the first. With just one strike left in the inning, the Rockets rallied to score two runs on two hits to take a 3-0 lead. While Belmont was able to get base runners on in the next few innings, double plays plagued the Bruins keeping them off the board.
Toledo scored its third and fourth runs of the afternoon in the top of the sixth after a couple of base hits and a sacrifice bunt to take an early 5-0 lead. The Rockets tried to put the game out of reach in the top of the seventh scoring four runs on four hits to take a commanding 8-0 lead.
Belmont was finally able to respond and get its offense going in the bottom of the seventh. Junior Hagan Severance (Brentwood, Tenn.) started off the inning with a triple to deep right center field to put a runner in scoring position early in the inning. Junior Devon Gardner (Maryville, Tenn.) delivered a sacrifice fly to plate the first Belmont run of the afternoon. Freshman Grayson Taylor (Cullman, Ala.) then blaster yet another triple to right field to immediately threaten once again. Senior Zach Ehrhart (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) plated him with an RBI single before the next batter grounded into a double play to end the inning. Belmont would strand one in the bottom of the seventh, but finally cracked the scoreboard cutting the Rockets' lead 8-2.
Toledo responded with a run of its own in the top of the eighth for a 9-2 lead, but the Bruins refused to give up. Designated hitter freshman Tommy Crider (Cullman, Ala.) continued to keep Belmont's bats hot leading off the inning with a single to center field. A walk and a single by freshman Jackson Campbell (Russellville, Ky.) loaded the bases with no outs. Taylor plated the Bruins' third run working a bases-loaded walk to cut the lead 9-3. Pinch hitter sophomore Logan Jarvis (Franklin, Tenn.) showed patience at the plate working a two-out bases loaded walk later in the inning cutting the lead even further. After eight batters, Belmont cut the lead 9-4 after eight complete.
The Rockets took advantage of a hit batsman who eventually scored in the top of the ninth to take a 10-4 lead.
With ground to cover, the Bruins dug in and started a ninth inning rally. Senior Chas Hadden (Morristown, Tenn.) started the rally with a double to left field that Crider followed up with a hit and RBI single. A senior Hunter Holland (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.), fielders' choice and a walk loaded the bases. Severance was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, pushing Crider home to cut the lead 10-6. Freshman John Behrends (Chattanooga, Tenn.), who represented the tying run, stepped to the plate and delivered a two-out RBI single through the right side keeping the Bruins' chances alive. The final Belmont batter of the game grounded into a fielders' choice and Belmont came up just short, falling 10-7.
About a half hour after the conclusion of the first game, the teams got back on the diamond for a seven-inning Sunday afternoon contest. Junior Korey Bell (Brentwood, Tenn.), set the tone for the game from the mound in the top of the first, forcing three outs on just four pitches.
Belmont came out swinging in the bottom of the inning with Ehrhart leading off with a single to left center field. A Campbell double laced beautifully down the left line scored Ehrhart putting Belmont ahead 1-0 after just two at-bats. Belmont would leave the bases loaded in the first, but not before taking the lead.
Toledo responded with a run of its own in the top of the first to tie the game 1-1. Bell continued to be an impressive force on the mound, keeping the Rockets scoreless through the third and fourth innings.
Belmont broke the deadlock in the bottom of the fourth after Holland worked a leadoff walk and advanced on an Adkins single setting up the sacrifice fly from Jarvis to take the 2-1 lead.
The Bruins' got in a jam in the top of the fourth with the bases loaded after a few walks, but Bell worked out of it, forcing a ground ball to end the inning, preserving the 2-1 lead. Toledo scored the tying run (3-3) in the top of the fifth after a couple walks and a hit.
Belmont responded immediately yet again in the bottom of the fifth. The leadoff man, Crider, was awarded first base after he was hit by a pitch and Holland worked a walk to put runners on first and second. Adkins plated the third run with a sacrifice fly to retake the lead. Pinch hitter Hadden sent the fourth run home with a single through the left side for the second run of the inning. Belmont would take a 5-2 lead into the final two innings of the afternoon.
Sophomore Logan Bowen (Bowling Green, Ky.) was called upon to finish this one out on the mound for the Bruins. He kept Toledo off the board in the top of the sixth with two strikeouts and a groundout.
Belmont scored its final run of the day in the bottom of the sixth after freshman Jack Capobianco (London, Ky.) worked a walk after an impressive at bat to start the inning. A sacrifice bunt pushed Capobianco to scoring position and Crider sent him home with an RBI single to round out Belmont's scoring efforts.
Bowen closed out the game in the top of the seventh forcing a fly ball to left field and a couple of strikeouts secure the 5-2 Belmont victory.
Belmont will be back in action Wednesday, Feb. 27 against Southern Illinois. First pitch is slated for 4:00 p.m. CT at E.S. Rose Park.