STARKVILLE, Miss. – Junior Dylan Craig (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) hit his first home run of the season to propel Belmont (3-3, 0-0) to a 2-1 victory over Mississippi State (5-1, 0-0) on Friday afternoon.
The Bruins were down 1-0 for the majority of the contest before Craig's inside the park home run scored senior Derek Hamblen (Plano, Texas) and himself to take the lead in the top of the ninth. Hamblen led off the ninth with a single to right center field.
The two run shot by Craig came off of Mississippi State starter Devin Jones. The Bulldogs' ace had gone eight innings, only giving up three hits and striking out five before the start of the final inning. MSU's Caleb Reed came in to stop the bleeding and finished out the ninth.
Belmont senior Jon Ivie (Summertown, Tenn.) came in to close in the bottom of the ninth and recorded his third save in as many appearances during the 2011 season. Ivie got the first Mississippi State batter to ground out before hitting the next. Allowing the Bulldog player on base did not hurt Belmont, as the game ended on the next pitch as MSU's Ryan Collins grounded into a double play.
Sophomore Chase Brookshire (Chattanooga, Tenn.) looked strong in his second start on the mound. The left-hander went six innings, allowing just one run on five hits, three walks and one strikeout. Junior Josh Davis (Fayetteville, Ga.) relieved Brookshire in the seventh and continued the impressive Bruin pitching performance. Davis gave up no runs, while allowing only one hit, one walk and striking out two in two innings pitched.
"We received an outstanding pitching performance from Chase and tremendous relief by both Josh and Jon out of the bullpen," head coach David Jarvis said on the win. "It was a great job by Ivie closing things out after Dylan's inside the park home run in the ninth."
While Craig and Hamblen came through for BU in the ninth, three other Bruins recorded hits in the game. Junior Zac Mitchell (Cordova, Tenn.), senior Tim Egerton (Smyrna, Tenn.) and sophomore Jared Breen (Marietta, Ga.) each recorded singles in the contest.
Belmont finished with two runs on five hits and one error, while Mississippi State tallied one run on six hits and one error. Davis improved to 2-0 on the season with today's win, while Jones fell to 1-1 with the loss for the Bulldogs. Ivie now has three saves in 2011 and moves into sixth place in Belmont annals for career saves with 14.
The two squads will return to Dudy Noble Field in Starkville, Miss. for game two of the series tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. CT. "We're excited about the team and how they're responding to the atmosphere down here," Jarvis said. "We've put ourselves in a position to win the series with a victory tomorrow."