AUBURN, Ala. – The Belmont baseball team (9-7) defeated Auburn (10-7) by a score of 3-1 in the final game of the weekend series on Sunday. Junior captain Drew Turner (Shelbyville, Tenn.) was responsible for all three Bruin runs, scoring two and driving in another to lead BU at the plate.
The Tigers opened up the scoring for the third straight time this weekend with a solo home run by Garrett Cooper in the second inning, but Belmont evened the tally with a single run in the fifth. Turner recorded his second triple of the weekend to lead off the frame, and then scored on a sacrifice fly by freshman Jamie Ritchie (Buford, Ga.).
After allowing the solo shot in the second, Belmont starting pitcher James Buckelew (Lawrenceville, Ga.) was as stingy with runs as ever, putting four goose eggs on the board and keeping the score tied at 1-1 heading into the seventh inning. The left-hander walked the leadoff batter in the seventh, and then allowed a fielder's choice and two singles to load the bases with one out.
Junior Josh Davis (Fayetteville, Ga.) was then called on to get Belmont out of the jam. The right-hander was able to get Auburn's Creede Simpson, who came into Sunday's game batting .444 on the season, to ground out into an inning-ending double play. The ball hit up the middle was slowed down by Davis's stab at it, and then put away by junior shortstop Jared Breen (Marietta, Ga.), who stepped on second and threw to first.
The Bruins then got out of a two base runner jam in the eighth with its third inning-ending double play. Belmont came up in the ninth, and finally knocked Auburn starting pitcher Daniel Koger out of the game when sophomore Greg Brody (Dacula, Ga.) doubled off the left field wall. It was then Turner who finally gave BU the advantage with a single up the middle that drove in Brody.
Turner advanced to second on the throw to home plate, and then went all the way on a throwing error that ended up in an empty center field. The 3-1 advantage was all Belmont would need to come out on top, as senior Garrett Fanchier (Lebanon, Tenn.) came in to close out the ninth with a one-two-three inning.
Belmont finished with three runs on six hits and no errors. Davis improved to 2-1 on the season after allowing no runs on one hit in one and two thirds innings. Fanchier picked up his fourth save of the year with his one inning of shutout baseball. Buckelew had another solid outing, allowing one run on seven hits in 6.1 innings. His ERA now stands at 0.74 for the season.
Turner led the Bruin offense, going two-for-two with two runs and one RBI. Breen, senior Dylan Craig (Signal Mountain, Tenn.), Brody, and freshman Scott Moses (Englewood, Tenn.) added hits in the win.
Auburn totaled one run on eight hits and two errors in the loss. Koger fell to 1-1 on the season after allowing two runs on five hits in 8.1 innings. He struck out seven Belmont batters and walked only one. Jay Gonzalez and Cooper led the Tigers with two hits each.
Belmont will next return home to host Middle Tennessee and Valparaiso on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. Both games are scheduled for 4:00 p.m. at Rose Park.