NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont baseball (12-10, 3-3) won its fifth straight contest on Wednesday, defeating Ouachita Baptist (10-15, 0-3) by a score of 11-5 in a rain shortened, six inning game at Shelby Park.
The Bruins gave up two runs in the top of the first inning after recording two errors, but came back with three of their own in the bottom half of the inning to take a 3-2 lead. After junior Zac Mitchell (Cordova, Tenn.) singled to lead off the inning, senior Derek Hamblen (Plano, Texas) connected on his second homer of the season to make it 2-0. Two batters later senior Nate Woods (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) swung at the second pitch he saw, knocking well over the left field wall for his third home run on the season.
In the second inning senior Tim Egerton (Smyrna, Tenn.) tallied his eighth double of the season to lead things off. After a walk by freshman Greg Brody (Dacula, Ga.) and a bunt single by sophomore Jared Breen (Marietta, Ga.), the bases were loaded for the Bruins. The Tigers proceeded to get the next two batters out before a wild pitch scored Egerton from third base to make it 4-2 in favor of BU.
Ouachita Baptist tied the game up in the fifth inning when sophomore Dan Huenecke (Palatine, Ill.) loaded the bases after getting the first two batters out on a fly out to right field and a strike out. Senior Dalton Bell (Crossville, Tenn.) attempted to get out of the jam, but allowed two runs on a hit by pitch and a wild pitch in subsequent at bats. Bell then struck out OBU's next batter to end the inning.
After the Tigers scored one more run in the sixth to take a 5-4 lead, Belmont countered with seven runs in the bottom half of the inning. The first three batters reached base for BU as Egerton walked, and Brody and Breen both singled on bunts. Mitchell then drove in two runs with a single through the right side of the infield.
After Hamblen reached on an error by the pitcher, junior Dylan Craig (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) then reached on a fielder's choice, scoring Breen and moving Mitchell to third base. Craig then stole second base, and Woods was intentionally walked so the Tigers could set up for the double play. That is when senior Matt Zeblo (Raleigh, N.C.) came to the plate. With the bases loaded Zeblo connected on the first Belmont grand slam of the season, firing a shot over the left field wall.
Zeblo's second homer of the season made it 11-5 in favor of the Bruins heading into the seventh inning, but the game was promptly called off due to inclement weather at the park. Belmont therefore finished with 11 runs on 12 hits and four errors in six innings of play, while Ouachita Baptist totaled five runs on three hits and two errors in the contest.
Bell recorded the win for BU, allowing one unearned run on two hits and striking out one batter in one and one third innings. The Tigers' Zac Treece was credited with the loss, giving up five runs while recording no outs.
The Bruins will next travel to Jacksonville, Florida for a three game Atlantic Sun Conference series against North Florida from March 25th to the 27th.