NASHVILLE, Tenn. - With only three games remaining on the Belmont baseball team's (32-21, 14-10) regular season schedule, the Bruins welcome cross-town rival Lipscomb (25-27, 14-10) to Rose Park this weekend for the annual Battle of the Boulevard. The two squads are currently tied for third place in the Atlantic Sun Conference standings.
Having defeated the Bisons in the season series each of the past two years, the 2012 version of these rivalry games may hold the most weight since Belmont topped Lipscomb in the A-Sun Tournament back in 2008.
With only USC Upstate having clinched a spot in the league playoffs heading into the final series of the year, Belmont can finish as high as the top seed in the tournament, or as low as missing the playoffs entirely. Two wins over the Bisons will automatically clinch a spot for the Bruins, but Belmont could also earn a place in the tournament with one or even no wins this weekend.
Belmont is coming off of a momentum building win over Ohio Valley Conference leading Autin Peay on Tuesday. The Bruins defeated the Govs on a walk-off RBI single by junior captain Drew Turner (Shelbyville, Tenn.) in the bottom of the ninth. The victory marked the 32nd of the Bruins' season, tying a program record for regular season wins.
The Bruin pitching staff continues to lead the A-Sun with a 3.28 team ERA, and is ranked 17th in the nation with only 2.58 walks per nine innings pitched. Junior Chase Brookshire (Chattanooga, Tenn.), senior Matt Hamann (Northbrook, Ill.), and sophomore James Buckelew (Lawrenceville, Ga.) are scheduled to start the three games this weekend, just as they have the entire season for Belmont.
Lipscomb, meanwhile, is coming off of a pair of non-conference losses to Austin Peay and Tennessee Tech surrounding a home sweep of last place Jacksonville this past weekend. The Bisons are currently 25-27 overall, but stand at an underwhelming 2-16 in road games and contests at neutral sites.
The Bisons are hitting .276 this season, and are led by a number of offensive threats. Ricky Coleman leads the squad with a .321 average, Zak Messer has totaled 13 doubles, 11 home runs, and 40 runs batted in, and Zach Lowery leads the team with six triples while adding 12 doubles and 37 RBI.
Belmont leads the NCAA era series by a mark of 21-16, including series wins each of the past two seasons. The Bruins topped the Bisons in two out of three games during last season's historic run, winning the final two games of the weekend 9-2 and 4-3.
The weekend series begins Thursday at 5:00 p.m., continues Friday at 5:00 p.m., and concludes Saturday at 1:00 p.m. Fans in attendance at Game One will receive a free Belmont "snap koozie" courtesy of Taco Bell. Friday is Alumni Day with a number of former Bruins in attendance, and Saturday's finale will recognize the Bruins playing in their final regular season game on Senior Day.
All three games will feature live audio on the Bruin Sports Network, and video on ASun.TV. Fans can also follow the action through Live Stats on BelmontBruins.com, or by following @BelmontBaseball on Twitter.