Baseball Snaps Four-Game Winning Streak at ETSU
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – The Belmont baseball team (12-8, 1-1) allowed three runs in the first inning and eventually fell to ETSU (10-7, 1-1) by a score of 8-3 on Saturday afternoon. Freshman Matt Beaty (Dresden, Tenn.) went two-for-four with a two-run home run to lead the Bruins at the plate.
The Buccaneers returned the favor of an early inning offensive outburst on Saturday, matching the Bruins three-run second from Friday with a three-run frame of their own in the opening frame. ETSU opened the bottom half of the first with a pair of singles off of Belmont starter senior captain Matt Hamann (Northbrook, Ill.). Clinton Freeman then homered over the right field fence to give ETSU the early lead.
After a scoreless second for both teams, the Bucs added one run in the third on a solo home run by Matthew Scruggs, his first of two homers on the day. Hamann settled into a groove during the next three innings, walking the first batter of the fourth, but then retiring nine straight Buccaneers to keep Belmont trailing by just four runs heading into the seventh.
The Bruins only managed two hits off of ETSU starting pitcher Jake Long through the first six innings. Sophomore Greg Brody (Dacula, Ga.) and sophomore William Dodd (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) tallied singles in the second and third innings, respectively.
Belmont then made things interesting, though, scoring three runs on three hits off of Long in the seventh to come within one, at 4-3. Junior Judah Akers (Cookeville, Tenn.) was hit by a pitch just before Beaty swung at the first pitch he saw and cut the Buccaneer lead in half with a two-run homer to right. It was his second home run of the year, and gave him a tie for the team lead with 16 RBI.
The Bruin rally continued when junior captain Drew Turner (Shelbyville, Tenn.) singled to center field. Freshman Jamie Ritchie (Buford, Ga.), who homered in Belmont's win on Friday, then walked to put runners on first and second. Dodd tallied his second single of the game to load the bases, before senior captain Zac Mitchell (Cordova, Tenn.) drove in Turner with a sacrifice fly to center field.
Hamann struck out the first batter of the Bucs' seventh, but then allowed four straight hits, including Scruggs's second homer of the day, as ETSU took an 8-3 advantage and knocked Belmont's starting pitcher out of the game.
Junior Josh Davis (Fayetteville, Ga.) relieved Hamann, getting the next two batters to fly out and strike out, ending the disastrous seventh inning. Davis went on to allow just one single in the eighth, but it was for naught as the Bruin offense wasn't able to muster up any offense in the final two innings.
ETSU evened the weekend series with the 8-3 victory. The Bucs totaled eight runs on 10 hits and no errors, while the Bruins totaled three runs on six hits and one error. Long improved to 2-1 on the year with the win, and Hamann fell to 0-3 in the loss.
The two teams will finish the series on Sunday in Johnson City. The first pitch is scheduled for 12:05 p.m. CT.