NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont Baseball (2-3, 0-0) dropped a 6-2 decision at third ranked Vanderbilt (5-0, 0-0) in a mid-week road contest Wednesday afternoon. The Bruins received a strong starting pitching outing from junior Garrett Fanchier (Lebanon, Tenn.), but errors and mental mistakes by BU gave this one to the Commodores at Hawkins Field.
"It's a little frustrating that we come over here and do so many things right, but then we make about three silly mistakes that open up scoring opportunities for them," Head Coach David Jarvis said. "We gave them some things, and to their credit, they took advantage of them."
Vandy got on the board first in the third inning after a pair of singles and a sacrifice bunt gave the Commodores runners on first and third with one out. Vanderbilt's Connor Harrell then came in to score from third after a third strike from Fanchier got past senior catcher Matt Zeblo (Raleigh, N.C.).
The Commodores increased their lead to 4-0 in the fourth inning. Tony Kemp drove in two runs on a single up the middle, which scored Mike Yastrzemski and Sam Lind, who reached base on a walk and Belmont error, respectively. Kemp then scored himself on yet another third strike passed ball from the Bruins.
Belmont did not go down without a fight, getting on the board in the seventh after Vandy tallied two more runs in the fifth to make it 6-0. Senior Vinny Casha (Nashville, Tenn.) led off the seventh by getting hit by a pitch. The catcher advanced to second when sophomore Judah Akers (Cookeville, Tenn.) walked, and then scored on a shot down the left field line by freshman Greg Brody (Dacula, Ga.). Brody's RBI double made it 6-1 and was the first run batted in of his young career.
The Bruins started to make things interesting when they came to bat again in the eighth inning. Vanderbilt reliever Steven Rice entered the game and proceeded to walk Derek Hamblen (Plano, Texas), Nate Woods (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), Dylan Craig (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) and Casha in succession. The walk of Casha scored Hamblen to make it 6-2 with no outs. The Commodores then brought in closer Will Clinard, who proceeded to end the inning with two strikeouts and a pick off of Casha at first base.
"It was a golden opportunity that we did not take advantage of," Jarvis said of having the bases loaded in the eighth. "We missed a couple of offensive opportunities throughout the second half of this game, but it was the mental mistakes that ended up costing us. It's exciting to know that if we eliminate a couple of those mistakes, we are very competitive with this team."
With an empty ninth inning Vanderbilt came away with the 6-2 victory over Belmont. The Commodores finished with six runs on five hits and no errors, while the Bruins totaled two runs on six hits and two errors. Vandy starting pitcher T.J. Pecoraro earned the win, while Fanchier was credited with the loss for BU. Clinard picked up his second save of the season in two innings of action.
Belmont will next head to Mississippi State for a three game series from February 25th to the 27th. The Bruins will then return home to host Tennessee Tech in single game action, before hosting Mercer in a three game series to open Atlantic Sun Conference play.