JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Belmont baseball team (17-10, 5-2) won its third straight Atlantic Sun Conference series opener on Friday, defeating Jacksonville (11-16, 1-3) by a score of 4-0. Junior Chase Brookshire (Chattanooga, Tenn.) was masterful on the mound, scattering four hits in seven shutout innings for the win.
The Bruins got to Jacksonville in the fourth, scoring three runs in the inning. Junior Judah Akers (Cookeville, Tenn.) led off the inning with his first of two doubles in the game on a strike to left-center field. Freshman Matt Beaty (Dresden, Tenn.), after getting a hold of one and hitting it over the right field fence but in foul territory, advanced Akers over to third base on a sacrifice bunt down the third base line.
After junior captain Drew Turner (Shelbyville, Tenn.) got on with a walk, Akers came around to score on a fielder's choice by junior Jared Breen (Marietta, Ga.) and an error by the Dolphins. Turner scored on a passed ball, and Breen recorded the final run of the frame on a ground out by freshman Jamie Ritchie (Buford, Ga.).
Belmont was able add one run in the next top half of the inning, as Akers ignited the Bruins offense again. His double to left field was his team-leading 13th of the season. Beaty then worked a 3-0 count before Jacksonville decided to walk the first baseman intentionally. Turner made the Dolphins pay by singling to left field, driving in Akers to make it 4-0 in favor of the Bruins.
The four runs of offense were more than enough for Brookshire, who struck out five Dolphins and walked zero as he improved his recorded to 4-1 on the season. The left-hander recorded two one-two-three innings to start the game, and benefited from two of Belmont's three double plays in the game.
Freshman Scott Moses (Englewood, Tenn.) was the recipient of the Bruins' final double play, an unassisted play by Breen, recording the first two outs of the eighth. Moses closed out the game for Belmont, allowing one hit in both the eighth and the ninth innings to give BU the 4-0 victory.
Belmont finished with four runs on 10 hits and two errors. Brookshire picked up the win, and no save was recorded. Akers tallied the two doubles and scored two runs, while Turner went a perfect four-for-four to lead the Bruins at the plate.
Jacksonville was shutout by Belmont, the fourth by the Bruins this season, while totaling six hits and two errors on the night. Alex McRae fell to 2-3 on the season after allowing four runs on seven hits in five innings of action. Zachary Houck led the Dolphins at the plate with a single and a double on the night.
The two teams will play the second game of the weekend series on Saturday at 12:00 p.m. CT. Sunday's series finale will be play at 11:00 a.m. CT. Both contests will be available on the Bruins Sports Network with play-by-play from Rich Tiner.