NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont University Baseball stays atop the Ohio Valley Conference with a comeback victory on Sunday. The Bruins secured the 10-7 win and the series victory over conference foe SIUE.
Belmont took the lead early in the game, scoring a run in the bottom of the first inning. Freshman Grayson Taylor (Cullman, Ala.) became Belmont's first base runner after reaching first on a wild pitch. Taylor reached second base on another wild pitch to put himself in scoring position. Senior Devon Gardner (Maryville, Tenn.) notched BU's first hit of the night with a two-out single to center field to put runners on the corners. Senior Hunter Holland (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) delivered the first RBI of the day with a double to deep center field. The ball bounced out of play for a ground rule double, so only one Bruin was able to score on the well-hit ball, giving Belmont a 1-0 lead after the first inning.
SIUE responded immediately, putting up six unearned runs in the top of the second to retake the 6-1 lead.
Belmont got a run back in the bottom of the second thanks to a sophomore Jackson Campbell (Russellville, Ky.) home run. His team-high fourth long ball of the season came with two outs cut the SIUE lead 6-2 after two complete.
Relief pitcher sophomore Chandler Schultz (Nashville, Tenn.) took over for the final out in the second and continued his appearance in the third inning, keeping SIUE off the board in the top of the third.
The Bruins continued to chip away at the lead in the bottom of the third. This time, junior Chandler Adkins (Knoxville, Tenn.) got things going with a one-out double to deep right field. Adkins advanced on a groundout, finding himself just 90 feet from home plate. Holland kept up his hot streak, delivering his second RBI of the day with a shot through the left side easily scoring Adkins to cut the lead 6-3 after three complete.
The Cougars added another run in the top of the fourth, gaining a run back for a 7-3 lead. Belmont scored in the fourth straight inning, putting up two runs in the bottom of the fourth. Senior Chas Hadden (Morristown, Tenn.) worked a one-out walk to give Belmont a base runner. Campbell then reached on catcher interference. Senior Zach Ehrhart (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) notched a huge base hit, scoring Hadden to cut the lead 7-4. Taylor kept Belmont's bats going with a single to center field to push Campbell to third and load the bases with just one out. Adkins delivered a sacrifice fly to center field to advance all runners and score Campbell to cut the lead even further to 7-5 after four complete.
Sophomore Kyle Brennan (Franklin, Tenn.) took over the mound for the Bruins for the final out in the fourth inning and stayed impressive in the top of the fifth, retiring the Cougars in order for the first three up, three down half-inning of the game.
Belmont was held off the board for the first time in the bottom of the fifth inning. Despite hits by Holland and freshman Tommy Crider (Madison, Ala.), Belmont was unable to plate any runs in the fifth.
Brennan continued to be impressive keeping the Cougars off the board in the next three innings, allowing just one hit to keep Belmont in the game.
With a 7-5 deficit, Belmont dug its heels in for the bottom of the eighth. After working three straight walks to start the inning, freshman John Behrends (Chattanooga, Tenn.) stepped to the plate with no outs and the bases loaded. Behrends was patient at the plate, working a full-count walk to drive a run home and cut BU's deficit 7-6. Adkins became the hero of the day later in the inning, delivering a one-out double to center field, plating two to give Belmont an 8-7 lead. The next batter, Devon Gardner, laced BU's second-consecutive double, scoring two more to give the Bruins a 10-7 lead. The next two batters struck out and flew out, but the damage was done for the Bruins.
Sophomore Logan Bowen (Bowling Green, Ky.) came to the mound for the top of the ninth inning, looking to secure his fourth save of the season. Bowen pitched an effective inning, facing just four batters, forcing three groundouts to secure the Belmont victory.
The Bruins will be back in action at Southern Illinois on Tuesday. First Pitch is slated for 5:00 p.m. CT.