Belmont (34-26) needed one win in two games on Saturday, but came up short against Jacksonville, dropping the doubleheader 10-4, and 7-6. Brady Manifold, Matt Reynolds, Kane Simmons and Daniel Wagner were named to the all-tournament team, as the team went 3-2 at the A-Sun championship.
In game one, Jacksonville struck first with two runs in the bottom of the first, and the Bruins managed just one hit through the first three innings. In typical Bruin fashion, Belmont tied the game in the fourth inning. Ben Petsch led off with a single and Derek Wiley moved him to third with a double. Kane Simmons followed with a sacrifice fly. Brady Manifold drew a two-out walk and Carlo Testa legged out an infield single to score Wiley and tie the game at 2-2.
JU led off the bottom of the fifth with a walk and a double. The Dolphins then regained the lead with a sacrifice fly, but stranded a runner at third, as the scoreboard read 3-2 through five. The Dolphins’ offense came alive late, as the team added three runs in the seventh and four more in the eighth to take a 10-2 lead.
Matt Reynolds led off the ninth with a single, and Wilson Tucker reached with a hit as well, before Derek Wiley drove in both runners with a double to center field. The runs would be the team’s last in the game, and made the score 10-4.
A-Sun first team member Charles Lee made the start for Belmont and threw 6.1 innings. He struck out two batters to move into sole possession of the career strikeout record, with 235 in his four years. He walked five batters and allowed five runs on six hits. It was his first loss as a starter, as Lee moved to 8-2 on the season.
Jimmy Stanley pitched the final 1.2 innings, and allowed five runs on eight hits. Stanley did not strike out any batters, and walked two.
Belmont took an early lead in game two, as Packy Elkins drew a walk and scored on a Wilson Tucker double in the bottom of the first. JU tied it in the top of the second, before Belmont scored two more runs in the second. Daniel Wagner doubled and scored on a Carlo Testa single. Testa scored on Packy Elkins’ single up the middle.
Jacksonville tied in the top of the third, but Kane Simmons launched his fifteenth homerun of the season over the right field wall to give the team a 4-3 lead through three. Pete Clifford struck again, however, with his second homerun of the day. The two-run shot put JU in the lead at 5-4 in the fifth inning.
Belmont squared things in the sixth, as Carlo Testa doubled and came in to score on Packy Elkins’ single to left field. JU scored in the seventh, but the Bruins tied it at 6-6 in the bottom of the frame. Jacksonville would score one more time, with a pair of two-out hits in the eighth to take a 7-6 lead. The one run lead would be enough as the Bruins were retired in order the final two innings.
Ben Meador started game two, and threw five innings. He allowed three earned runs, five total, on eight hits. He walked two and struck out three batters.
Josh Moffitt came on for the sixth inning and allowed one run on three hits over two innings of work. He did not walk any batters and struck out one. Eric Diaz allowed one run on a walk in just one third of an inning of work. He took the loss to finish the year at 1-2. Chris Manning closed out the game, allowing just one hit over 1.2 innings of work.
Belmont’s season ends with a 34-26 record. The team graduates 11 players this season.