Bruins Drop 4-3 Contest In Series Finale at KSU
KENNESAW, Ga. – The Belmont baseball team (27-16, 12-6) lost a 4-3 contest at Kennesaw State (26-17, 12-6) to drop the series to the Owls on Sunday. Senior Dylan Craig (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) led the Bruins at the plate with two hits and two runs batted in on the day.
Unlike the first two games of the series in which the Bruins recorded a three-run inning early in the contest, it was Kennesaw State that put up a trio of runs in the first on Sunday. Sophomore starter James Buckelew (Lawrenceville, Ga.) walked the first batter he faced, and then allowed a single and a home run by Andy Chriscaden to fall behind 3-0.
Buckelew went on to pitch four straight shutout innings before handing the ball over to the bullpen. It took until the starter's final inning of work before the Bruin offense gave him some run support. Belmont tied the game at 3-3 on four hits.
Freshman Jamie Ritchie (Buford, Ga.) started the mid-game rally with a double to right center field, and then advanced to third base on a single to left by classmate Scott Moses (Englewood, Tenn.). Ritchie scored when the next batter, senior captain Zac Mitchell (Cordova, Tenn.), reached on a fielder's choice.
Junior captain Drew Turner (Shelbyville, Tenn.) then came to the plate and put two runners in scoring position on a double deep to left field. Turner and Mitchell both scored on a two RBI single by Craig. The center fielder ripped a pitch through the opposite side of the infield to tie the game at 3-3.
After Buckelew wrapped up the bottom of the fifth inning, junior Josh Davis (Fayetteville, Ga.) pitched two shutout frames, allowing only two hits in the sixth and seventh to keep the Bruins in the game. Freshman Scott Moses (Englewood, Tenn.), who played a superb defensive game at short stop, relieved Davis for the eighth.
With only six walks on the season before Sunday, Moses walked two batters after allowing a single and a sacrifice bunt to lead off the inning. The pair of base on balls proved costly as Jordan Craft's fly out to left field on the next at bat allowed what ended up being the Owls' game-winning run to score from third.
The Bruins outhit Kennesaw State 11 to six for the game, but a couple of base running miscues and the inability to capitalize on base hits, especially in the first and eighth innings, left Belmont behind in the run column on Sunday afternoon.
BU finished with three runs on 11 hits and one error. Moses fell to 1-2 on the season after allowing the one run on just one hit in one inning of relief. Buckelew gave up three runs on three hits in his five inning start. Craig, Mitchell, and freshman Matt Beaty (Dresden, Tenn.) each recorded two hits in the defeat.
Kennesaw State totaled four runs on six hits and one error. Reliever Justin McCalvin improved to 2-1 on the year, allowing no runs on no hits in 1.2 innings pitched. Andy Almonte went a perfect three-for-three, while Chriscaden added two hits including the home run at the plate.
Belmont is now tied with the Owls for second place in the Atlantic Sun Conference with a mark of 12-6. USC Upstate swept Jacksonville this weekend, and is alone in first place with a record of 13-5. The Bruins will host UT-Martin on Tuesday before taking a week off for finals.