Strong Pitching Not Enough In 2-1 NCAA Regional Loss

Friday, June 01, 2012

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Belmont baseball team (39-23) dropped NCAA Baton Rouge Regional opener, falling to Oregon State (39-18) by a score of 2-1 on Friday afternoon. The Bruins outhit the Beavers by a mark of 6-3, but failed to convert on a number of opportunities, and lost in the first game of the regional championship for the second straight season.

The Beavers struck first in this one, taking advantage of a leadoff double and a walk by junior Chase Brookshire (Chattanooga, Tenn.). Ryan Barnes doubled to right field, and eventually scored after reaching third on a sac bunt by Ryan Gorton and a sacrifice fly by Kavin Keyes.

The Bruins got their first real scoring opportunity in the top of the fourth after a couple of the OSU players thought they had retired the side with a second-out strike out of junior Judah Akers (Cookeville, Tenn.). The Beavers had to record one more out though, and it took the team four batters to do it.

Freshman Alec Diamond (Kennesaw, Ga.) started the two-out rally with Belmont's second hit of the game, connecting on a single to center field. Junior Jared Breen (Marietta, Ga.) followed it up with a single to center of his own.

Senior Phillip Parsley (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) then put forth a marathon of an at bat in which he almost drove in both base runners on two separate occasions. The designated hitter worked the count full, hit one long ball just foul to left and one just foul to right, but finished with a walk to load the bases for the Bruins. Unfortunately, a fly out to right ended the Belmont rally.

It was the next inning in which BU did get on the board, tying the game at 1-1 in the top of the fifth. Senior Dylan Craig (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) did what he has done more than any Belmont Bruin and anyone in the Atlantic Sun Conference.

The center fielder tripled down the right field line to open the frame. It was his fourth of the season, and the 24th of his career. After a ground out to third base did nothing for the Bruins, a subsequent ground out by senior captain Zac Mitchell (Cordova, Tenn.) – this time to short stop – drove Craig in from third to tie the game.

As the Belmont offense began putting some things together at the plate, Brookshire continued to move quickly on the mound. The left-hander recorded two straight perfect innings during the fourth and fifth, allowing only one run on one hit through five innings.

For the second time in the contest, Oregon State opened an inning with a double. Just the Beavers' second hit of the game, Joey Matthews's double to right center began another OSU rally in the sixth. A ground out to first advanced Matthews to third, and a bunt single along the first base line drove in the run to give Oregon State a 2-1 lead heading to the seventh.

The Bruins had chances to tie the game back up, recording singles by junior captain Drew Turner (Shelbyville, Tenn.) and Diamond in the seventh and eighth inning, respectively, but Belmont couldn't take advantage of the opportunities. The Bruins stranded nine runners throughout the entire game.

Oregon State left Belmont hitless in the ninth, and held on for the 2-1 victory to open the regional tournament. Belmont will play Saturday at 2:00 p.m. CT against the loser of LSU and UL-Monroe.