Baseball Falls to Tennessee Tech In the Ninth
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Belmont baseball team (3-6, 0-0) fell to Tennessee Tech (2-6, 0-1) by a score of 9-7 after giving up two runs in the ninth inning. A six run seventh inning by the Bruins tied the game at 7-7, but it was not enough to top the Golden Eagles in non-conference action on Tuesday.
"It's a very frustrating game from a lot of different aspects" head coach David Jarvis said following the game. "We expanded the strike zone offensively and chased too many pitches that were outside of the zone. That prevented us from creating some offensive opportunities that should have been there."
Belmont didn't score a run until the fifth inning, and were down 7-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh. After junior Zac Mitchell (Cordova, Tenn.) and senior Derek Hamblen (Plano, Texas) singled to put runners on first and second, Tennessee Tech relieved starter Jake McWhirter, who went 6 and one third innings with three earned runs and seven strikeouts.
Junior Dylan Craig (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) then singled as the first batter to face reliever Justin Alexander. After seniors Nate Woods (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) and Matt Zeblo (Raleigh, N.C.) both batted in base runners being hit by consecutive pitches, senior Tim Egerton (Smyrna, Tenn.) singled to right field scoring two more for the Bruins.
Sophomore Drew Turner (Shelbyville, Tenn.) was hit by a pitch before Alexander was relieved by Wade Bilbrey. Bilbrey continued the struggles for the Golden Eagles as he walked sophomore Judah Akers (Cookeville, Tenn.) and Mitchell to give Belmont six runs for the inning, tying the game at 7-7.
"We put together a good comeback to tie the game," Jarvis said. "But even at that point in the game, we had the bases loaded with one out, and we weren't able to get a key hit. That could have changed the game."
After an empty eighth inning, Tennessee Tech put it away scoring two in the top of the ninth. Junior Matt Hamann (Northbrook, Ill.), who came in the seventh in relief of senior Dalton Bell (Crossville, Tenn.), started the inning with a strikeout. Austin Wulf then reached base on a fielding error by Mitchell, which would end up being the winning run later in the inning. After giving up a single and a walk, Hamann was relieved by senior closer Jon Ivie (Summertown, Tenn.). Ivie proceeded to walk the first batter, scoring Wulf. Ivie gave up one more run on a sacrifice fly, and got out of the inning picking off a Golden Eagle attempting to steal third.
The Bruins came up empty in the bottom of the ninth and Tennessee Tech left Nashville with the 9-7 victory. The Golden Eagles finished with 9 runs on 10 hits and one error, while Belmont tallied seven runs on seven hits and one error. TTU's Chad Hayes earned the win, improving to 1-0 on the season. Hamann recorded the loss for BU and Tristan Archer picked up his first save of 2011.
Mitchell led Belmont at the plate, going three for three with two walks. The third baseman scored two runs and tallied one RBI on the day. "Zac reaching base five times is an outstanding day for any leadoff man," Jarvis said. "It was just a tremendous job that he did today."
Belmont will next host Mercer for a three game series on March 4th through 6th in the first Atlantic Sun Conference action of the season. Friday's contest is set to start at 4:00 p.m. at Shelby Park in Nashville.