NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Belmont baseball team (24-10, 10-2 A-Sun) extended its winning streak to eight games while snapping a seven game losing streak against Tennessee Tech (13-18, 5-4 OVC), as the Bruins defeated the Golden Eagles by a score of 8-1, its first win in the series since 2007.
"Beating Tennessee Tech is awesome because we haven't beaten them since I've been here," senior Dylan Craig (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) said following the victory. Craig went one-for-three on the night, as the center fielder recorded the 300th hit of his career, the first Belmont player to do so in program history.
The individual success for Craig, who is one of four Bruin starters hitting over .300 on the season, comes amidst continuing team success. Belmont is out to its best start since opening the 1995 campaign with a record of 26-10. The 2012 team's current mark of 24-10 is the best ever in BU's NCAA era.
Tuesday's win over the Golden Eagles began just as nine out of the previous 10 tilts for the Bruins have, with an empty frame for the opposing team. Belmont junior starter Josh Davis (Fayetteville, Ga.) left Tennessee without a run in the first two innings, before giving up a single run on three hits in the third.
Davis came back with a shutout fourth, before handing the ball over to the bullpen in this midweek staff day. The right-hander allowed the only run of the game for the Golden Eagles, scattering seven hits over four innings to improve to 6-1 on the season. Davis picked up his 13th career win, moving him into a tie for the second best winning percentage in Belmont history, at 13-4.
The Belmont pitching staff, recently named National Staff of the Week by InsidePitching.com, received early run support from the offense, as the Bruins scored all eight of their runs in the first four innings of play. Craig's single started the rally in the first frame, and quickly scored on a double down the left field line by sophomore Greg Brody (Dacula, Ga.).
Brody finished the scoring in the first, coming around on a ground out RBI by freshman Matt Beaty (Dresden, Tenn.), but the Belmont scoring picked up quickly in the second inning. Junior Jared Breen (Marietta, Ga.) recorded his first triple of the season to lead off the frame. He scored on an RBI single by freshman Jamie Ritchie (Buford, Ga.), who later scored on a sacrifice fly from Brody.
Belmont countered Tennessee Tech's only run of the game in the top half of the third with three in the bottom of the frame. Ritchie drove in his second run of the game with an RBI double down the left field line. Senior captain Zac Mitchell (Cordova, Tenn.) then drove in Ritchie with a single to right field, and sophomore William Dodd (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) scored on a wild pitch after reaching base on a walk.
The Bruins put a cap on the scoring with a two-out solo home run in the fourth inning. Beaty tallied his third homer of the season, taking pitcher Andy Williams 1-0 toss well over the right field wall to give Belmont the 8-1 lead that it maintained throughout the rest of the contest.
Freshman Austin Coley (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) relieved Davis in the fifth, and pitched two innings of one-hit baseball, allowing no runs, walking no batters, and striking out two. Junior Tim Bowles (Hendersonville, Tenn.) threw a one-two-three seventh, while freshman Scott Moses (Englewood, Tenn.) and senior Garrett Fanchier (Lebanon, Tenn.) allowed only two hits and one hit in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively.
Belmont totaled eight runs on 10 hits and one error. Davis picked up the win, and there was no save. Brody went two-for-three with a pair of doubles and two runs batted in to lead the Bruins at the plate. Ritchie added a two-for-four day with a double and two RBI, while Breen and Beaty recorded a triple and a homer, respectively.
"The pitching staff did a good job, and we got some big hits when we needed them," Brody said after the win. "I felt better today," he continued about his own recent success at the plate. "[I was] attacking pitches in the zone early in the count. It felt good."
Tennessee Tech finished with one run on 11 hits and no errors. Starting pitcher Cullen Park fell to 2-4 on the season after allowing four runs on six hits in the loss. Dylan Bosheers went three-for-five on the night, tallying a double and a triple for the Golden Eagles.
The Bruins will head down the street on Wednesday, playing at Vanderbilt at 6:30 p.m. Belmont, which defeated the Commodores 6-5 back on March 6, will attempt to beat VU twice in one season for the first time since 1981 and only the third time in school history.