MARION, Ill. – A spectacular complete game performance by senior Casey Queener (Brentwood, Tenn.) and solid offense propelled #4 Belmont University Baseball to an 8-1 victory over #5 Murray State in game two of the Ohio Valley Conference Baseball Tournament.
Queener settled in early, retiring the Racers in order in the top of the first and stranded a Murray State runner at third base in the top of the second with a strikeout.
The deadlock finally broke in the top of the third. Murray State strung together a couple of base hits to take a 1-0 lead after three complete.
Down a run, senior Hunter Holland (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) single handedly got Belmont going offensively when he smoked the first home run of the OVC tournament to left field to tie the game 1-1. BU's bats continued to be hot, with back-to-back base hits from freshmen John Behrends (Chattanooga, Tenn.) and Grayson Taylor (Cullman, Ala.), putting runners on first and third with no outs. BU took the lead after consecutive RBI groundouts gave Belmont a 3-1 lead.
The Bruins blew things open in the bottom of the fifth. A one-out double from junior Chandler Adkins (Knoxville, Tenn.) started the rally. After a base hit from senior Devon Gardner (Maryville, Tenn.) and a walk, BU loaded the bases. Taylor kept his bat hot when he singled up the middle to score two more runs. Sophomore Jackson Campbell (Russellville, Ky.) drove in the final run of the inning with his single to left field for a 7-1 BU lead after five complete.
In the fifth inning, Queener broke the Belmont record for career strikeouts with his 288thof his career, keeping Murray state off the board in the inning.
Continuing the momentum, Belmont scored again in the bottom of the sixth to take an 8-1 lead. A leadoff double from Hadden and a sacrifice bunt set up the potential sacrifice fly. Holland did his job and delivered the fly ball to right field to plate the only run of the inning.
Queener continued to deal from the mound, breaking yet another career record. He headed to the hill for the ninth inning needing one more strikeout to break the single season record. Queener got that strikeout for the final out of the game and his 119thof the season.
Belmont will play again in the winner's bracket Thursday, May 23at 11:00 a.m. CT. The Bruins will face #1 Jacksonville State.