Saturday, May 26, 2012
DeLand, Fla. – Top-seeded Belmont (39-22) earned its second-consecutive Atlantic Sun Conference Baseball Championship Title Saturday evening at Melching Field at Conrad Park, defeating third-seeded Kennesaw State (34-25) 10-4 in the championship game. Bruins first baseman Judah Akers went five-for-five with four RBI to lead Belmont to the victory; he was named A-Sun Tournament Most Valuable Player.
Kennesaw State took an early 2-0 lead that was erased in the bottom of the third as A-Sun All-Freshman Team third baseman Matt Beaty’s RBI sacrifice fly was immediately followed by an Akers RBI single.
Belmont took control of the championship game with a four-run outburst in the bottom of the fifth inning. The first four Bruins hitters all reached base, including a Beaty RBI single and an Akers two-run double. One batter later, shortstop Jared Breen delivered an RBI single through the right side of the infield for a 6-2 lead.
Although Owls center fielder Kody Belcher and First Team All-Atlantic Sun third baseman Aaron Dobbs drew KSU within 6-4 with RBI singles in the top of the sixth, Belmont put matters out of reach with another Akers RBI single in the bottom of the sixth plus a solo home run from First Team All-Atlantic Sun second baseman Zac Mitchell and a two-run single off the bat of left fielder William Dodd in the eighth.
In addition to the perfect performance of Akers, Mitchell went three-for-four with two runs scored and a run batted in while Second Team All-Atlantic Sun outfielder Drew Turner finished with two hits and a stolen base. Belcher, Dobbs and right fielder Chris McGowan all had two hits for the Owls.
Atlantic Sun Insider: Well-Worn Arms Guide Bruins to Title
First Team All-Atlantic Sun selection Chase Brookshire earned the win for the Bruins by striking out five in six innings to start; he scattered four runs on nine hits and two walks. Matt Hamann earned his first save of the season with two scoreless innings to finish off the game, striking out three in the process. KSU starter Colton Cross took the loss.
Akers, Mitchell and Turner all made the All-Tournament Team for Belmont while Dobbs, First Team All-Atlantic Sun honoree Ronnie Freeman and Second Team All-Atlantic Sun selection Andy Chriscaden represented KSU on the All-Tournament Team. Also making the All-Tournament Team were FGCU shortstop Brandon Bednar, first baseman Sean Dwyer, starting pitcher Jason Forjet and outfielder Ryan Gebhart as well as Stetson starting pitcher Will Dorsey.
Belmont will learn its NCAA Tournament designation at 12 noon ET Monday. The selection show will be televised nationally on ESPNU.
2012 Atlantic Sun All-Tournament Team Stetson – SP - #29 Will Dorsey FGCU – SS - #19 Brandon Bednar FGCU – 1B - #27 Sean Dwyer FGCU – SP - #22 Jason Forjet FGCU – OF - #4 Ryan Gebhart Kennesaw State - OF - #9 Aaron Dobbs Kennesaw State – C - #45 Ronnie Freeman Kennesaw State – DH - #13 Andy Chriscaden Belmont – OF - #7 Drew Turner Belmont – 2B - #5 Zac Mitchell Belmont – 1B – Judah Akers Tournament MVP: Judah Akers, Belmont
The Atlantic Sun Conference is an NCAA Division I league with 10 member institutions committed to Building Winners for Life. The A-Sun meets the challenge of maintaining the highest standards in academic and athletic achievement with a true balance between student and athlete. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun boasts six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Belmont University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.