CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont University Baseball remains atop the Ohio Valley Conference with an 11-3 victory over Austin Peay State University Friday night.
The Bruins wasted no time getting going when senior Zach Ehrhart (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) swung on the second pitch of the night for a standup double. After advancing to third on a sacrifice bunt, he was batted in by junior Chandler Adkins (Knoxville, Tenn.) who blasted the second double of the night after working a full count. The Bruins scored its second run of the inning when senior Devon Gardner (Maryville, Tenn.) knocked a hit to center field that was deep enough to plate Adkins. Belmont would take an early 2-0 lead after the top half of the first.
Senior Casey Queener started on the bump for the seventh time this season for the Bruins on Friday night. The pitcher, who pitched a complete game shutout of the Governors last season, had APSU's number early in this one retiring them in order.
The Governors cut the Belmont lead in half in the bottom of the third on a solo home run. Both teams dug in defensively, holding each other scoreless in the fourth and fifth innings, keeping the score 2-1 after five complete.
The Bruins extended its lead with two more runs in the top of the sixth. Adkins worked what would be his first walk of the night, giving Belmont a base runner. With two outs and a runner on, senior Hunter Holland (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) delivered a double to shallow left field, plating Adkins for a 3-1 lead. With some impressive base running, Holland stole second and scored on an error for a 4-1 Belmont lead.
Austin Peay responded immediately in the bottom of the sixth, earning back both runs given up in the sixth, closing in on Belmont 4-3.
Belmont, never phased, blew open the game in the top of the seventh, scoring five runs on just two hits. Sophomore Logan Jarvis (Franklin, Tenn.) started off the big inning by working a walk. Junior Jackson Campbell (Russellville, Ky.) then got aboard on a fielder's choice. Consecutive base hits by senior's Chas Hadden (Morristown, Tenn.) and Ehrhart scored Campbell for a 5-3 lead. A hit-batsmen then loaded the bases giving Austin Peay nowhere to put anyone. Adkins and Gardner then plated two more on consecutive bases-loaded walks to give Belmont an 8-3 lead. BU scored its final run of the inning with the help of an RBI groundout from Holland to take a 9-3 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh.
Queener's night would be over in the bottom of the seventh, but not before an impressive 11 strikeouts and just three hits. Sophomore Stone Selby (Hohenwald, Tenn.) headed to the mound. Selby pitched two innings, keeping the Govs off the board, preserving the 9-3 lead heading into the final inning.
Belmont plated what would be its final two runs in the top of the ninth. Adkins worked his third walk of the ninth to lead things off and advanced to third on a Hunter Holland base hit. Adkins manufactured the 10th run of the night, scoring on a wild pitch. After another walk, Belmont had runners on the corners with just one out. Jarvis then delivered a sacrifice fly giving Belmont an 11-3 lead.
With three outs left to secure the win, senior Kyle Klotz (Fairview, Tenn.) took the mound to try and close out the victory. He had an impressive outing, retiring Austin Peay in order to secure the 11-3 win.
With the win, Queener improved to 3-0 on the season and Belmont improved to 8-2 in OVC Play.
Belmont and Austin Peay will play game two of the series on Saturday with first pitch slated for 10:00 a.m. CT.