JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Belmont baseball team (12-11, 3-4) came back to tie the game after being down 4-1, but fell to North Florida (12-11, 4-6) by a score of 5-4 on Friday evening in Jacksonville.
The Bruins struck first, scoring one run in the opening half inning. Junior Zac Mitchell (Cordova, Tenn.) led off with a single, but then got thrown out attempting to steal second base. Senior Derek Hamblen (Plano, Texas) then singled and was successful in stealing both second and third. The Belmont second baseman then scored on a single through the left side of the infield by senior Matt Zeblo (Raleigh, N.C.).
After keeping the Ospreys off the board in the first inning, BU gave up one run in the second and then three in the third to fall behind by a score of 4-1. Sophomore Chase Brookshire (Chattanooga, Tenn.) allowed two singles and two doubles in giving up the three runs during the third.
Belmont got UNF starting pitcher Robbie Collier to leave the game after eight innings, and took advantage of the Ospreys' bullpen immediately in the seventh. Sophomore Jared Breen (Marietta, Ga.) opened the offensive output with a double to left field. After sophomore Drew Turner (Shelbyville, Tenn.) was hit by a pitch, Mitchell doubled down the right field line to score both Breen and Turner. Junior Dylan Craig (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) then drove in Mitchell to tie the game at 4-4, reaching base on an infield error.
Brookshire, who allowed no runs between the third and eighth innings, shut North Florida down with three consecutive ground outs in the bottom of the seventh. The Ospreys finally got the best of the Belmont lefty in the eighth when a solo shot by Alex Bacon made it 5-4 in favor of UNF.
North Florida finished with five runs on eight hits and two errors, while Belmont totaled four runs on nine hits and no errors. Brookshire was credited with the loss after allowing all five runs, striking out four and walking two in seven and one third innings. The Ospreys' Casey Medlen earned the win after striking out four and allowing two earned runs in three innings of relief.
Belmont and UNF will take to the field for game two tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. Freshman James Buckelew (Suwanee, Ga.) and North Florida's Kyle Westwood are projected to start the game on the mound.