Belmont comes up short on offense in NCAA regional defeat

Friday, June 1, 2012 at 6:22pm
Staff reports

Chase Brookshire’s gem went to waste.

Belmont's starting pitcher allowed just three hits in seven innings but the Bruins failed to provide enough offense in a 2-1 loss to Oregon State in a NCAA Regional opener on Friday in Baton Rouge, LSU.

Belmont (39-23), the No. 3 seed, falls into the losers’ bracket of the double-elimination regional and plays the LSU-Louisiana-Monroe loser at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Brookshire (8-4) took the loss even though second-seeded Oregon State (39-18) mustered just six baserunners. 

“He kept us off-balanced today,” Oregon State coach Pat Casey said in a post-game TV interview. “We didn’t swing the bat well all day but a lot of that was him.”

The left-hander got into trouble in the sixth when he gave up a lead-off double to Joey Matthews. After moving to third, Matthews scored the game-winning run on a perfectly placed squeeze bunt by Ryan Barnes. With first baseman Judah Akers hoping the ball would stray foul, it rolled all the way down the line and bumping fair into the first-base bag.

OSU jumped in front in the second inning when Barnes led off with a double. After moving to third on the sacrifice bunt, Barnes scored on a sacrifice fly by Kavin Keyes.

Belmont, which had won nine of 10, tied it up in the top of the fifth. Dylan Craig extended his Atlantic Sun Conference record with his 24th career triple down the right-field line. Two batters later, Zac Mitchell knocked him in with a hard chopper to short.

Paced by Alec Diamond’s two hits, the Bruins doubled up Oregon State with six hits but stranded nine baserunners.

Belmont is now in the same situation as last year. In 2011, the Bruins lost their regional opener against Vanderbilt but staved off elimination twice. They beat Oklahoma State and Troy for the school’s first two NCAA Tournament wins in any sport to reach the regional final.