NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Belmont baseball team (11-7) defeated Valparaiso (4-12) by a score of 5-3 on Wednesday afternoon. Senior Dylan Craig (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) extended his hitting streak to 10 games on a two-for-three afternoon at the plate.
Unlike Tuesday night against Middle Tennessee, it took until the fourth inning before either team got on the board. The Crusaders struck first with a pair of singles in the frame, but Belmont then took the lead with two runs in the fifth.
Junior captain Drew Turner (Shelbyville, Tenn.) led off the inning with an infield single, and freshman Alec Diamond (Kennesaw, Ga.) walked to put two runners on. Senior captain Zac Mitchell (Cordova, Tenn.) then doubled down the right field line to drive in Turner to tie the game. Diamond intelligently came around third to score on the throw into the infield from right, giving BU a 2-1 lead.
After a scoreless sixth, Valpo regained the lead with two runs in the top of the seventh. Steven Scoby led off the frame with a single up the middle. He then scored when John Loeffler recorded his first home run of the year with a shot over the right field wall.
The Bruins quickly countered with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the seventh. Craig walked to lead off the inning, and advanced to third on a single to left by sophomore Greg Brody (Dacula, Ga.). Craig scored on a sacrifice fly by junior Judah Akers (Cookeville, Tenn.), and Brody gave Belmont a 4-3 lead on an RBI single by freshman Matt Beaty (Dresden, Tenn.).
Craig singled up the middle in the eighth, driving in freshman Jamie Ritchie (Buford, Ga.), to give Belmont an insurance run before the ninth inning. Ritchie led off the frame getting hit by a pitch. The insurance was not needed as senior Garrett Fanchier (Lebanon, Tenn.) allowed only one hit in the ninth to close out the game and give the Bruins the 5-3 victory.
The Bruins only gave up three runs as a staff, two of which came on the two-run homer in the seventh. Freshman Dan Ludwig (Naperville, Tenn.) started his third game of the year, allowing only one run on five hits before the homer.
Junior Jessie Snodgrass (Lebanon, Tenn.) came in to pitch a pair of shutout innings in relief for the Bruins, allowing only three hits and no walks. The right-hander improved to 1-0 on the year in the win. Fanchier earned his fifth save of the season with his ninth inning performance.
Belmont totaled five runs on 10 hits and one error. Mitchell, Craig, and Turner each recorded two hits to lead the Bruins at the plate. Mitchell, Craig, Akers, and Beaty each drove in one run for Belmont in the victory.
Valparaiso finished with three runs on 11 hits and no errors. The Crusaders were led at the plate by two hit performances by Andrew Bain, Chris Manning, and Loeffler. Rob Rabakozi fell to 0-1 on the season after allowing two runs on three hits in one inning of relief.
Belmont will next head on the road for its first Atlantic Sun Conference games of the year this weekend. The Bruins play at ETSU on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 1:05 p.m. on Friday, and 12:05 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.