Baseball Defeats Illinois State, 5-3 Friday

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Belmont Baseball (8-2) rallied back to defeat Illinois State, 5-3, Friday in the first game of a three-game weekend series.

The Bruins have now won five consecutive games.

In the third inning, the Redbirds took a 2-0 lead sparked by a bunt single from designated hitter Jack Czeszewski. 

Belmont got on the board in the fourth. Seniors Judah Akers (Cookeville, Tenn.) and Josh Davis (Fayetteville, Ga.) both drew walks to start the frame. After Jared Breen (Marietta, Ga.) grounded out to third base to advance Akers and Davis, freshman Neil Hickman (Hermitage, Tenn.) delivered an RBI ground out. 

After two more scoreless innings from senior Chase Brookshire (Chattanooga, Tenn.), Akers blasted his third home run of the season out to right center in the sixth, tying the game at 2-2. 

Brookshire went six strong innings on the hill, scattering six hits and two runs. The left hander struck out six and walked one, earning a no decision. Senior Jessie Snodgrass (Lebanon, Tenn.) came on to relieve Brookshire, going two innings, giving up three hits, one run and striking out two. 

The Bruins took control of the scoreboard in the eighth when sophomore Scott Moses (Englewood, Tenn.) singled up the middle. Moments later, the Bruins got a bunt single from freshman Joseph Stovall (Collierville, Tenn.). Moses and Stovall both advanced on an Illinois State error. 

Sophomore Jamie Ritchie (Buford, Ga.) drew a walk before sophomore Drew Ferguson (Knoxville, Tenn.) delivered a two run double to right field. Akers followed with a sacrifice fly to center to score Ritchie and put BU up 5-2. 

The Redbirds touched up Snodgrass for one run in the eighth, before Moses came to the hill in the ninth to earn his first save.

Ferguson led the Bruins at the plate, going 2-for-4 with two RBI. Akers also added two RBI. 

Belmont returns to action tomorrow afternoon at 2:00pm for game two of the series. Live stats and in-game updates will be available via Twitter @BelmontBaseball.

NOTES: In his first three outings of the season, Brookshire has given up only two earned runs in 18 innings of work ... The Bruins opened the 2010 season 10-0.