Baseball Downs Illinois State, 6-5 Saturday

Jamie Ritchie
Jamie Ritchie

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont Baseball (9-2) took game two of the series with Illinois State Saturday, 6-5, behind five runs in the fourth and fifth innings.

The Bruins have won six straight games.

A sacrifice fly put the Redbirds on the board first in the first inning. Illinois State hit back-to-back singles to start the second before designated hitter Brock Stewart  hit a two-run single to put the Redbirds up 3-0.

Illinois State began the third inning just like the second with back-to-back singles, but the Redbirds stranded both runners.

Josh Davis (Fayetteville, Ga.) hit a lead-off single in the bottom of the fourth and advanced to second on an Illinois State error. Scott Moses (Englewood, Tenn.) reached on a fielder's choice and Davis advanced to third.

An error from the Redbirds allowed Jamie Ritchie (Buford, Ga.) to reach first and score Davis, putting the Bruins on the board. A bunt single from Alec Diamond (Kennesaw, Ga.) loaded the bases and a sacrifice fly from Dom Veltri (Clarksville, Tenn.) scored Moses.

In the bottom of the fifth, Drew Turner (Shelbyville, Tenn.) and Davis both singled before Moses singled to left center and advanced on the throw which scored Turner, tying the ball game at 3-3. Ritchie hit a two-run single giving the Bruins a 5-3 lead.

Austin Coley (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) went 5.1 innings giving up six hits and four earned runs. The right hander struck out six, matching his season high that he set against Ohio.

Dan Ludwig (Naperville, Ill.) earned his second win of the season when he came on to relieve Coley. He allowed just two hits and struck out five.  

The Redbirds tied the game in the top of the sixth, scoring a pair of runs.

Veltri drew a leadoff walk in the bottom half of the inning and advanced on a wild pitch. Drew Ferguson (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Turner each were hit by a pitch, loading the bases and forced the Redbirds to go to the bullpen.

Another Illinois State wild pitch advanced the runners and scored Veltri, giving the Bruins a 6-5 lead. BU loaded the bases, but stranded the runners.

Ritchie drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the seventh followed by a bunt single from Diamond. Veltri hit into a double play advancing Ritchie but a groundout from Ferguson left him stranded.

Davis took the mound in the top of the ninth to close out the game, striking out the first two batters before surrendering a hit. The right hander earned his second save of the season.

Davis, Diamond and Turner led the Bruins with two hits in the game.

Belmont and Illinois State will finish the series tomorrow afternoon. The first pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.