NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Belmont baseball team (35-21, 17-10) defeated Lipscomb (25-30, 14-13) by a score of 10-4 on Saturday to earn its first Atlantic Sun Conference regular season championship. The Bruins scored all 10 runs over the course of the first three innings to coast to the victory.
All nine starters were a part of the scoring for Belmont, as each player drove in a run or scored a run in the win. Junior Judah Akers (Cookeville, Tenn.) led the way with a three-for-five day, driving in two runs and scoring another.
"This is what you play for, to compete for a championship," Akers said after the game. "To do it in the style that we did, playing a cross-town rival in Lipscomb, it was very exciting. We're now looking forward to seeing what we can do in the tournament."
Senior Dylan Craig added a two-for-four day at the plate, driving in a run and scoring a team high three. Junior captain Drew Turner (Shelbyville, Tenn.) and freshman Matt Beaty (Dresden, Tenn.) also chipped in with a pair of runs batted in for the Bruins.
Sophomore starter James Buckelew (Lawrenceville, Ga.) was pitching a great game before a two-hour weather delay halted his chance at a seventh win this regular season. The lefty allowed just one unearned run on only one hit in the first three innings of play.
Freshman Dan Ludwig (Naperville, Ill.) filled in after play resumed, pitching four shutout innings before allowing three runs to the Bisons on a pair of home runs. Fellow freshman Scott Moses (Englewood, Tenn.) came in to close out the game in the ninth, allowing no hits in the final frame.
The Bruins totaled 10 runs on eight hits and three errors. Ludwig improved to 5-5 on the year after allowing three runs on just four hits, and striking out six, in five innings of relief. Lipscomb finished with four runs on five hits and no errors. Chris Nunn fell to 1-3 on the year after allowing six runs on five hits in two innings.
Belmont's 35th win of the season, and 17th in A-Sun Conference play, earned the team its first regular season conference championship, nearly a year after winning the 2011 conference tournament. The Bruins will now be the number one seed in next week's A-Sun Championship, playing host and sixth seeded Stetson in the first round.
"I'm just so happy for these kids," Head Coach Dave Jarvis said after clinching the regular season title on Saturday. "They've accomplished something that no previous Belmont baseball team had done, so I'm proud of them for that."
The Bruins' first game of the tournament will be Wednesday, May 23 at 6:00 p.m. CT. The entire bracket for the 2012 A-Sun Tournament can be found here.