Belmont Hits Three Home Runs to Down Mercer, 6-4
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont used three home runs to power past the Mercer baseball team, 6-4, on Day Three of the A-Sun Championship at Dugan Field.
Mercer (38-19) now plays the winner of this afternoon's game between Jacksonville and Stetson at 8 p.m. ET in an elimination game.
The Bears jumped out to a good start in the bottom of the first when senior Thomas Carroll hit a grounder that was booted by the Belmont third baseman, allowing junior Billy Burns to score, to give Mercer an early 1-0 lead.
Mercer increased its advantage in the bottom of the second when Burns slapped a single to right field to bring in a run and make the score 2-0.
Belmont cut the Bears lead in half, at 2-1, with just one swing in the top of the third after a solo home run by junior Zac Mitchell.
The Orange and Black responded in the bottom of the fourth when an RBI groundout by Derrick Workman put the Bears back in front by a pair of runs, at 3-1.
That is the way things stayed until the top of the sixth when the Bruins once again used the long ball to tie things up. Senior Matt Zeblo crushed a two-run home run to left to knot the score at 3-3.
Belmont completed its comeback rally in the top of the seventh when junior Dylan Craig collected an RBI groundout to give the Bruins their first lead of the game, 4-3.
Mercer failed to capitalize on multiple scoring chances throughout the game until one of the players you would least expect came through with a clutch hit in the bottom of the eighth. Pinch hitting for freshman DJ Johnson with two outs, junior Matthew Black ripped an RBI single to center to bring home junior Jacob Tanis and tie the game up, at 4-4.
In the end, however, it would be the long ball that carried Belmont to victory. Senior Derek Hamblen crushed a two-run home run to left field off J.T. Odom, who up until that point had not allowed a hit in 6.2 innings pitched in the 2011 A-Sun Championship, to give the Bruins a huge 6-4 win.
Mercer had one more chance to mount a comeback bid of its own in the bottom of the ninth with runners on first and second and one out. Tanis flew out to left, however, and Belmont appealed the Bears baserunner missed second on his way back to first and was called out to end the game.
Senior John Moreland and Johnson paced the Bears offensively with two hits apiece in the loss.