CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The Belmont baseball team (17-17, 6-9) scored seven runs in the eighth inning, coming back from a 16-9 deficit to top Austin Peay (15-17, 5-3) by a score of 17-16 in Clarksville on Wednesday night. Freshman Greg Brody (Dacula, Ga.) drove in senior Vinny Casha (Nashville, Tenn.) on a double to win the game for the Bruins in the ninth.
The Bruins took the advantage in the second inning when sophomore Jared Breen (Marietta, Ga.) hit a sacrifice fly to center field, which scored sophomore Judah Akers (Cookeville, Tenn.). Akers led off the inning with a walk, advanced to second on a bunt single by Brody, and then made it to third on a sacrifice bunt by senior Tim Egerton (Smyrna, Tenn.). Junior Zac Mitchell (Cordova, Tenn.) then drove in Brody to make it 2-0 on a double to right field.
Austin Peay quickly countered, scoring five runs in the second inning and then two more in the third, to take a 7-2 lead heading into the top of the fourth. Belmont starter James Buckelew (Suwanee, Ga.) allowed seven unearned runs on six hits and three Bruin errors in two and two thirds innings pitched.
After each team put up one run in the fourth, the Bruins tied the game at 8-8 with five runs in the top of the fifth. Senior Nate Woods (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) led off by getting hit by a pitch, and then stole second. Senior Matt Zeblo (Raleigh, N.C.) then singled through the infield, before Akers drove both runners in on a double to right center. A single by Brody, a walk by Egerton, an Austin Peay balk, an RBI ground out by Breen, and finally a sac fly from Mitchell finished off the scoring for the Bruins.
The Governors countered once again in the bottom half of the fifth, scoring three runs on four straight singles to regain the lead at 11-8. APU then increased the lead to six, at 14-8, when P.J. Torres connected on a three run homer to left center in the sixth inning.
After Brody tallied his fourth home run of the season over the Austin Peay scoreboard in the top half of the seventh, the Govs tacked on two more of their own in the bottom to make it 16-9. That is when Belmont recorded an astounding seven runs, while forcing the Govs to use three pitchers in the eighth, to tie the game at 16-16. A double by Woods and a triple by Mitchell highlighted the Bruin offense in the inning.
With the score still tied at 16-16 in the top of the ninth, it was Brody once again getting it done for the Bruins. The freshman connected on his fifth hit of the game, doubling to left field to score senior Casha from first base. Senior Jon Ivie (Summertown, Tenn.) then came in to close it out in the bottom of the ninth, shutting the Governors down in the straight plate appearances. Ivie recorded his sixth save of the season.
Belmont finished with a season-best 17 runs on 17 hits and three errors, while Austin Peay totaled 16 runs on 16 hits and one error. Junior Garrett Fanchier (Lebanon, Tenn.) improved to 2-3, earning the win after allowing only one hit in the eighth. The Govs' Ryne Harper was credited with the loss, falling to 0-1 on the year.
Brody led the Bruins with a five for six day, tallying a double, a home run, three RBI, and four runs scored. Mitchell added a team-best five runs batted in on a perfect three for three day. The junior finished with two doubles and a triple, in addition to a walk and a sacrifice. Woods, Zeblo, and Breen all also had two hits on the day.
Belmont will next return home to host ETSU in a three game Atlantic Sun Conference series at Shelby Park, starting on Friday.