NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Belmont baseball team (4-4) used an eight-run opening frame to defeat Southern Illinois (4-4) by a score of 14-7 on Wednesday night. Freshman Matt Beaty (Dresden, Tenn.) went three-for-four with a grand slam, while junior Judah Akers (Cookeville, Tenn.) was a perfect five-for-five on the night.
Beaty, who had yet to record a hit as a Bruin through the first seven games of the season, began his coming out party with a single to left as party of the eight-run first inning. The first three Belmont batters walked, sophomore Greg Brody (Dacula, Ga.) drove in the first run of the game with a deep sacrifice fly to left, junior captain Drew Turner (Shelbyville, Tenn.) reached on an error, and then Akers recorded BU's first hit of the game with a single to center field.
The single to left by Beaty drove in senior Dylan Craig (Signal Mountain, Tenn.), and the runs began pouring in after that. A hit by pitch and a ground out later and senior captain Zac Mitchell (Cordova, Tenn.) came to the plate. The second baseman, now leading the team with a batting average of .409, connected on a double to right, driving in a pair of runs. Junior Jared Breen (Marietta, Ga.) then singled up the middle to finish the Bruin scoring in the first.
Belmont scored one run in the second on another couple of singles by Akers and Beaty, and a throwing error by the Salukis. The Bruins increased their lead to 10-2 in the bottom of the fifth, following one-run innings for Southern Illinois in the first and the fourth. Sophomore William Dodd (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), who led off the inning by striking out but reaching first on a wild third strike, scored on a sacrifice fly by Craig to make the Belmont advantage eight.
After the Salukis scored five runs during the sixth and seventh innings combined, the Belmont offense got in another groove prior to Beaty's grand slam. Brody singled to right field to start the rally. Turner then walked, and Akers tallied another single, this time of the infield variety. With a favorable 2-0 count, Beaty turned on the pitch by Southern Illinois' Aaron Snyder, and sent it deep over the right field wall for his first career home run. It marked the first home run for Belmont since Matt Zeblo cleared the bases against Ouachita Baptist on March 23, 2011.
Belmont's pitchers took care of business in the eight and ninth innings to allow the Bruins the 14-7 home victory over Southern Illinois. Neither freshman Scott Moses (Englewood, Tenn.) nor senior Garrett Fanchier (Lebanon, Tenn.) allowed a hit during the eight and ninth, respectively. It marked the third straight scoreless appearance by Moses to start his career, and the fourth by Fanchier to open the season.
The Bruins sent 10 pitchers to the mound by the end of the game, which was labeled a staff day. Junior Josh Davis picked up the win after allowing only one run on a solo home run in the first inning. The right-hander gave up just the one hit, while striking out five batters and walking none in his three innings of work.
Belmont totaled 14 runs on 15 hits and no errors, while Southern Illinois finished with seven runs on eight hits and two errors. The Bruins will next host Butler in a three game series this weekend. The Salukis will now head to Stetson for a tournament this weekend.