NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Baseball dropped a 7-5 decision to Northern Illinois on a wet Saturday afternoon after the Belmont comeback fell just short.
The Northern Illinois University Huskies got off to a hot start on Saturday afternoon, scoring three runs on four hits in the first inning to jump out to a 3-0 lead. Belmont struggled to answer offensively and allowed two more runs in the top of the third falling behind 5-0.
Belmont had its biggest threat of the game so far in the bottom of the third inning. Sophomore Jackson Campbell (Russellville, Ky.) got things going with the first hit of the day for the Bruins, sending a single to left center field and would advance to second on a throwing error by the NIU pitcher to get a runner in scoring position. After the next two batters flew and struck out, the game would go into a brief rain delay. After a 10-minute break in the action, senior Zach Ehrhart (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) laced a single through the left side, pushing Campbell to scoring position. With runner on the corners, the next batter flew out and Belmont ended the inning scoreless after stranding runners on the corners.
The Huskies continued its offensive onslaught, scoring its sixth run of the afternoon after stringing a couple of base hits together to take a 6-0 lead after the top of the fourth.
The Bruins finally got some offense going in the bottom of the fourth to begin to chip away at the NIU lead. Freshman Tommy Crider (Madison, Ala.) became the first base runner of the inning after he was hit by the first pitch of the inning. Senior Hunter Holland (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) followed that with a single to shallow left field, putting two on for the Bruins. Campbell continued his hot streak blasting a two-out triple to deep left center driving in both Crider and Holland to put Belmont on the board. After four complete innings, Belmont trailed 6-2.
Belmont dug in defensively and kept Northern Illinois off the board for the next three innings setting up a late rally. In the bottom of the seventh sophomore Logan Jarvis (Franklin, Tenn.) started the inning off with a single down the right line and beating the throw to get on base. Freshman Grayson Taylor (Cullman, Ala.) and Ehrhart followed that with a double and triple respectively to narrow the Huskies lead 6-4. Senior Chas Hadden (Morristown, Tenn.) then delivered an RBI to make it a one-run game.
After seven complete innings, Northern Illinois had a slim 6-5 lead, but plated what would be its final run of the night in the top of the eighth to jump ahead 7-5.
Belmont was unable to answer in the final two innings, falling just short of the comeback ultimately falling 7-5.
Belmont will be back on the field Sunday, Feb. 24thfor a double header against Toledo. First pitch will be at 11:00 p.m. CT.