NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont University baseball dropped a 13-9 decision to Southern Illinois University on Wednesday night. The game originally scheduled to be played Feb. 19 was postponed due to rainy weather conditions. Belmont was highlighted by a stellar performance by sophomore Jackson Campbell (Russellville, Ky.) who had multiple home runs and caught three Saluki's stealing on the day.
Southern Illinois made an early statement, opening the game with a big inning. After the first three batters walked, singled and homered, the Saluki's had an early 3-0 lead. After three more hits in the inning, SIU took a 5-0 lead after the top of the first.
After retiring Belmont in order, the Southern Illinois put up a three spot in the second and scored another in the third to jump out to a 9-0 lead. In the bottom of the third, Belmont made its first real threat, getting a runner in scoring position after junior Hagan Severance (Brentwood, Tenn.) was hit by a pitch and freshman Grayson Taylor (Cullman, Ala.) singled up the middle. The Saluki's, however, were able to force a ground ball to keep the Bruins scoreless.
Junior Brandon Liskey (Guyton, Ga.) took over the mound for Belmont in the top of the fourth. Liskey kept SIU off the board for the first time of the game in the top of the fourth after he forced a fly ball, had a successful pickoff and struck the final batter out.
Belmont finally broke through in the bottom of the fourth inning. After two quick outs, junior Chandler Adkins (Knoxville, Tenn.) got aboard after working a walk. Campbell follow that with Belmont's first home run of the season. His two-run long ball put BU on the board, narrowing the SIU lead 9-2.
After a scoreless fifth inning, SIU rounded out its scoring efforts in the top of the sixth. After a couple of hits and Belmont errors, SIU scored four runs for a 13-2 lead. Belmont responded in the sixth inning with a four spot of its own. Junior Devon Gardner (Maryville, Tenn.) stepped to the plate with one out and became the first Belmont base runner of the inning after he was hit by a pitch. Consecutive walks from Adkins and Campbell loaded the bases. Freshman John Behrends (Chattanooga, Tenn.) plated the third run of the night with an RBI single through the left side. Later in the inning, Taylor worked a two-out bases loaded walk, plating Belmont's fourth run. An SIU error on the next play allowed two more Belmont runs and Belmont cut the lead 13-6 after six complete innings.
Belmont kept the Salukis off the board in the seventh and eighth innings to set up a late push. Campbell continued his second home run of the day with a solo shot in the bottom of the eighth to cut the lead 13-7.
After a scoreless top of the inning, Belmont made its final offensive push in the bottom of the ninth. Junior Zach Ehrhart (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) worked a leadoff walk that pinch hitter sophomore Logan Jarvis (Franklin, Tenn.) followed up with a base knock to put runners on first and second. After both runners advanced on a wild pitch that made its way to the backstop, Belmont had two runners in scoring position. With one out, Gardner singled through the left side scoring both Ehrhart and Jarvis to narrow the lead 13-9. Belmont was unable to plate any more runs, falling short on Wednesday evening.
Belmont will be back in action this weekend for a three-game series against Bowling Green. First pitch is slated for 4:00 p.m. March 1st.