CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The race for the Ohio Valley Conference tightened Sunday as Belmont fell to Austin Peay. Despite a 10-hit performance, the Bruins fell 14-2 at Raymond C. Hand Park.
After struggling in the batter's box Saturday, Belmont started on a much different note Sunday. Senior Zach Ehrhart (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) started off the afternoon swinging on the second pitch for a quick base hit. Fellow senior Chas Hadden (Morristown, Tenn.) kept the early momentum going with a blooper to center field to put runners on the corners with no outs. The Bruins' momentum momentarily halted with two quick outs, but Belmont took advantage of an Austin Peay throwing error to score an early run, taking a 1-0 lead.
Sophomore Korey Bell (Brentwood, Tenn.) trotted to the mound for his sixth start of the season and was impressive in the bottom of the first. After a quick groundout, Bell notched two swinging strikeouts to efficiently end the inning, preserving BU's 1-0 lead.
After getting in a bases-loaded jam, Bell dug in his heels in the bottom of the second to preserve the Belmont lead. The Governors had loaded the bases with just one out, but Bell retired one looking and got one swinging to end the inning with a couple of punch outs.
Belmont was held off the board in the top of the second and third innings despite having base runners in both innings. The Bruins hit into double plays, stranding runners in both innings.
Austin Peay's bats got hot in the bottom of the third. After a leadoff walk, the Govs made a two-out rally scoring three runs after the second out to take the 3-1 lead.
BU immediately responded in the top of the fourth. Senior Devon Gardner (Maryville, Tenn.) led off with a double down the left line past the diving third baseman. Gardner, however, was later caught stealing to put the second out on the board. Sophomore Logan Jarvis (Franklin, Tenn.) started a two-out rally with a beautiful bunt for a base hit and stole second to get in scoring position. Junior Hagan Severance (Brentwood, Tenn.) stepped up to the plate and delivered his second hit of the day, a huge base knock to left field that was deep enough to plate Jarvis and cut the APSU lead 3-2.
Sophomore Stone Selby (Hohenwald, Tenn.) was called on from the bullpen in the bottom of the fourth and delivered. Selby froze the first batter he saw for a strikeout and forced two more quick outs, retiring Austin Peay in order.
In the top of the fifth, freshman Jack Capobianco (London, Ky.) led off with a base knock through the right side, putting the tying run aboard. The next Belmont batter hit into BU's third double play of the afternoon, wiping out the base runner. A strikeout ended the inning with the Bruins still trailing by a run.
Austin Peay started to break things open in the bottom of the fifth, scoring three runs to take a 6-2 lead after five complete. After a scoreless sixth, Belmont tried to chip away at the lead in the top of the seventh. Severance laced his third hit of the day giving BU a base runner, but another double play ended Belmont's half of the inning.
Austin Peay put things out of reach for the Bruins in the bottom of the seventh, putting up eight runs on six hits to take a commanding 14-2 lead.
Neither team scored in the eighth or ninth innings as the Governors defeated Belmont 14-2 to secure the series victory. Sunday's result tightened things up in the Ohio Valley Conference as Belmont and Austin Peay are now tied for first place with conference records of 8-4.
Belmont will be back in action for a road contest against Tennessee on Tuesday, April 2nd. First Pitch is slated for 6:00 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network.