Bruins Fall to #3 Vandy In NCAA Regional Championship

Tim Egerton

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Belmont baseball team (38-26) finished its 2011 campaign with a 6-1 defeat against #3 Vanderbilt (50-10) in an NCAA Regional Championship game Sunday night.  The Bruins won its second ever NCAA Tournament game, defeating Troy earlier in the day, but ended their historic run with the loss to the Commodores.

After giving up one run to Vanderbilt in the top of the second inning, Belmont scored its lone run of the game on a solo home run by senior Tim Egerton (Smyrna, Tenn.).  The bomb over the left field 30 foot wall was his 13th of the year, tying him with senior Nate Woods (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) for the most on the team.

The Bruins failed to score for the rest of the contest as Vanderbilt starting pitcher Taylor Hill struck out a career best 13 batters while allowing only five hits in eight innings pitched.  The Commodores scattered five more runs from the third to the seventh to win their second straight NCAA Regional Championship.

Vandy scored two in the third on a two RBI double by Jason Esposito, who was named Regional Tournament MVP following the game Sunday night.  They scored two more in the sixth on an RBI double by Anthony Gomez and a sacrifice fly from Curt Casali.

Esposito finished off the Vanderbilt scoring with a solo home run in the seventh inning, the 250th hit of his career.  Esposito was one of eight Commodores to be named to the All-Tournament Team.  Two players from Troy and four from Belmont also received the honors.

Sophomore Chase Brookshire (Chattanooga, Tenn.), senior Jon Ivie (Summertown, Tenn.), senior Matt Zeblo (Raleigh, N.C.), and senior Derek Hamblen (Plano, Texas) each were named to the All-Tournament Team at their respective positions.

The Bruins finished the season with a program best 38 victories to go along with its first ever Atlantic Sun Championship, first trip to the NCAA Tournament, and a number of statistical records in 2011.  Belmont will return to action in 2012 in an attempt to win back-to-back A-Sun Championships.