NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Despite out-hitting the Bears 10-6, Belmont University Baseball dropped a hard-fought 5-4 decision to Mercer on Friday evening at E.S. Rose Park.
In the Bruins' final home series of the season, the action got started early. The Bears took a 3-0 lead in the top half of the first by way of a three-run home run.
Belmont didn't let the momentum swing too far in favor of the Bears, however, and responded well in the bottom half of the first. With consecutive base hits by seniors Zach Ehrhart (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) and Chas Hadden (Morristown, Tenn.), BU had an early RBI opportunity. Senior Devon Gardner (Maryville, Tenn.) delivered yet another base knock that scored a run to cut the lead 3-1. The Bruins scored another run when junior Hagan Severance (Brentwood, Tenn.) worked a bases-loaded walk to put BU behind just 3-2. The Bruins sent eight batters to the plate in the bottom of the first to keep the pressure on the Mercer.
Senior Casey Queener (Brentwood, Tenn.) settled in, notching his 100thstrikeout of the season in the top of the first.
After a scoreless second inning, Queener continued to deal and kept Mercer off the board in the third.
The Bruins continued to swing the bat well in the bottom of the third to take the lead. Senior Hunter Holland (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) started off the inning with a single up the middle. Severance continued to have a good day at the plate with a one out single through the left side to push Holland to scoring position. Freshman John Behrends (Chattanooga, Tenn.) drove the tying run across the plate when he laced an RBI single through the right side to tie things 3-3. The go-ahead run came when sophomore Logan Jarvis (Franklin, Tenn.) laid down a beautiful bunt that scored a run for a 4-3 lead
After a quick start to the game, things slowed down with no runs in the fourth or fifth innings. Mercer scored what would be the final runs of the game in the top of the sixth. A leadoff home run and a couple of hits put the Bears on top 5-4.
BU's stellar relief pitching kept the Bruins within striking distance, keeping them within a run heading into the bottom of the ninth.
The Bruins put together one last rally in the bottom of the ninth. After a quick out, Gardner wore a pitch to put the tying run aboard. He stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch to find himself just 90 feet from home plate. A couple of strikeouts ultimately halted the BU threat as the Bruins fell 5-4.
Game two of the series is slated for 2:00 p.m. CT on Saturday. Stay tuned to belmontbruins.com and @belmontbruins on twitter for updates on any schedule changes.