A-Sun: Belmont Wins
By Bryan App - May 24, 2007
The Bruins are a bear of a team. OK, I'm sorry. But really, they are resilient. Just as they did in the seventh, the third-seeded Bruins responded to Mercer's ninth-inning rally with a run in the 10th to claim a 4-3 win against the second-seeded Bears.
Ben Petsch started things with a one-out walk and stole second to move into scoring position. Derek Wiley then plated Petsch with a double for what would be the game-winning run.
After surrendering the lead in the ninth, relief pitcher Chris Manning (3-0) picked up the win, retiring Mercer's Nos. 3, 4 and 5 batters in order and ending the game with a strikeout.
With the balance and resilience they displayed the past two games, the Bruins now look like the team to beat in the A-Sun. When they're needed, their bats respond, whether it's an eight-run eighth or an extra-inning double.
Plus, Belmont, the only undefeated team in the tournament, now gets nearly a day to recover. At 7 p.m. Friday, the Bruins will face the winner of the 11 a.m. elimination game between Mercer and top-seeded Stetson. You think those teams will wear each other out trying to remain alive?
With a win Friday, Belmont will advance to Saturday's 3 p.m. championship game to face the winner of Friday's 3 p.m. elimination game between fourth-seeded Jacksonville and fifth-seeded Gardner-Webb. If the Bruins don't win, the scenarios get kind of tricky. Don't hurt yourself with that.
If the Bruins lose, the Stetson-Mercer winner would advance to the championship game after defeating Belmont. The Bruins would play the winner of the Jacksonville-Gardner-Webb game on Saturday for the right to advance to the title game.
Make sense to you? Good, me neither. I say either give the top-two-seeded teams first-round byes or expand the tourney to eight teams.
But basically, Belmont is in a favorable situation, possibly facing teams they have either already defeated in the A-Sun tournament (Mercer and Jacksonville) or teams they took series from during the regular season (Stetson and Gardner-Webb). Although it's always more difficult the second time around.
Posted by Bryan App at 10:54 PM on May 24, 2007