OXFORD, Ala. – Belmont baseball used a pair of come-from-behind victories to claim the series against Jacksonville State on historic day for Head Coach Dave Jarvis, who earned his 900th career win as the Bruins took game two, 3-2. Senior Nick Egli (Brentwood, Tenn.) then accounted for the final seven runs in game three to propel BU past JSU, 10-5.
Egli led the charge with a 4-for-10 day at the plate and seven RBIs that all came in the final two innings of the series finale, while redshirt-freshman Matt Cogen (Franklin, Tenn.) was the sole Bruin to put together a pair of multi-hit outings. Belmont also saw extensive contributions on the mound with sophomore right-hander Dylan King (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) tossing his fourth double-digit strikeout effort of the year in the second game and senior Dom Veltri (Clarksville, Tenn.) went on to close out both games of the doubleheader, earning his sixth save in game two.
GAME 1 RECAP
Jacksonville State took the first lead of the game with a two-run long ball from Hayden White that soared over the left field wall to put the Gamecocks up, 2-0. The Bruins got a run back in the next stanza after a leadoff single from sophomore Hunter Holland (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) and a walk issued to freshman Logan Jarvis (Franklin, Tenn.) gave Belmont its first base runners. BU used fundamental baseball from then on to score the run as senior Clay Payne (Powell, Tenn.) rolled a sacrifice bunt down the first base line advancing runners. Junior Rafael Bournigal (Mulberry, Fla.) then delivered a sacrifice fly to cut the Bruins deficit in half, 2-1.
A pitchers dual then ensued, with neither team getting much off the starting hurlers. King struck out ten batters in the first six stanzas and only gave up one free ride during his time on the hill. Despite relinquishing seven hits in that span, he only allowed two runs to score while forcing JSU to strand four runners. On the other end, Jacksonville State starter Colton Pate also caused troubles as Belmont was only able collect four hits and a run through six stanzas.
King remained locked in as Belmont's defense stifled the Gamecocks in the bottom of the sixth. JSU managed to get runners to threaten on second and third with only one away before King struck out his tenth batter and tagged a runner attempting to get home on a wild pitch to end the frame unscathed keeping the Bruins within striking distance. Payne then tied the game up with two down in the seventh, belting a 0-2 pitch over the left field wall for his third home run of the year that knotted the game up, 2-2.
Belmont continued to heat up in the final frames, taking its first lead of the game in the eighth after a JSU throwing error allowed Egli to take second right off the bat. Cogen laced his second hit that came in the form of a RBI single to right field giving BU a 3-2 lead.
Veteran relievers Brennan Washington (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and Dom Veltri (Clarksville, Tenn.) closed out the victory, ensuring that the Gamecocks were held scoreless for the final three frames. Washington collected the win, moving to 3-0 on the year, while Veltri recorded his sixth save.
Holland kicked off the second game of the day with a dinger over the left field wall in the second frame to put the Bruins up, 1-0, early. His home run was the fourth from the Bruins this series with all of them sent to left field.
While Holland spark the Bruins offense, starting pitcher Connor Etheridge (Springfield, Ill.) relied heavily on the BU's defense to back him up after getting into consecutive bases loaded jams to start game three. He managed to get out of both unscathed, courtesy of some outstanding defensive efforts in the field. Jarvis made a couple crucial plays at first, while Holland and junior shortstop Kyle Conger (Brentwood, Tenn.) wouldn't let anything go in left field. The Bruins collectively held the Gamecocks scoreless in both stanzas.
For the third time in the first four frames, Jacksonville State juiced the bases – this time finding a way to convert some runs. After working his way out of a couple jams, Etheridge's luck ran out in the fourth as the Gamecocks plated three runs on four hits to take the lead, 3-1.
Similar to the previous contest, Belmont found itself in a 3-1 hole early on and would chip away at their deficit. Holland continued to be the difference maker in the second game, collecting his second extra base shot of the game with a leadoff two-bagger to deep centerfield in the fifth. Sophomore Chas Hadden (Morristown, Tenn.) came in to pinch hit and made the most of his sole plate appearance with a RBI groundout to shortstop, bringing BU within one, 3-2.
Jacksonville State doubled its advantage, 4-2, on a long ball if its own from Andrew Naismith, who lifted one over the centerfield barrier in the bottom of the sixth. Sophomore reliever Casey Queener (Brentwood, Tenn.) made an appearance in the sixth and struck out a trio of batters in three frames of work, only giving up the long ball.
After a day at the plate, Egli got back to his ways with his third home run of the series to left field. The designated hitter helped Belmont retake the lead in the eighth with a three-run no doubter that capped off a four-run frame for the Bruins. It all started with a leadoff walk handed to Payne. Bournigal then connected on a two-bagger that was sent to deep left centerfield for the first run. Jacksonville State then committed the first error of the game to allow Bruins to reside on the corners for Egli to clean up the bases and put BU up, 6-4.
The Brentwood, Tennessee product then sealed the deal for Belmont with a grand slam to centerfield in the top of the ninth, his second homer in consecutive at bats combing for seven runs and cushioning the Bruins lead, 10-4. Egli connected on four home runs in the series, the other coming in the first game on Friday night.
Jacksonville State scored a run in the bottom of the ninth to bring them within five, but that's all they'd get of Veltri.