For the second straight day, Belmont battled back. But, once again, the Bruins failed to jump in front.
Belmont’s season came to an end with a 6-3 loss to Louisiana-Monroe in an NCAA Regional on Saturday in Baton Rouge, La.
No. 3 seed Belmont entered the regional with a program-record 39 wins and having won nine of 10. But the Bruins never led in the double-elimination tournament, finishing with a 39-24 record.
Jeremy Sy, the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, had three hits and was a home run shy of the cycle as he drove in two big insurance runs for fourth-seeded Louisiana-Monroe (32-29).
Tied 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth, Belmont closer Scott Moses got into trouble. A double, a walk and hit batter loaded the bases with one out for the Warhawks. That set the table for Les Aulds, who sliced a grounder to third. Matt Beaty chose to throw out Aulds at first, allowing the game-winning run to score. Sy gave ULM some breathing room as he lofted a single off Moses (2-3) into shallow center field to score two runs.
Belmont didn’t get a hit off Warhawks starter Cale Wine until the fourth inning. Trailing 3-0, the Bruins put together a rally in the fifth – starting the inning with three singles.
The last, by Alec Diamond, drove in Beaty for the Bruins’ first run. Jared Breen then laid down a sacrifice bunt to put runners at second and third with one out. Parsley smacked a single into shallow left field to knock in Judah Akers and pull within one. This chased Wine and brought in lefty Kendall Thamm with runners on the corner and one out. After Jamie Ritchie drew a walk, Dylan Craig flied out to right to drive in Diamond and tie the game.
Belmont, however, offered little resistance from there. Thamm allowed one hit the rest of the way and retired 10 straight batters to end the game. Only twice in 18 innings against ULM and Oregon State, did the Bruins get the leadoff batter on base.
Senior right-hander Matt Hamann ended his career with a solid effort, allowing just three runs on six hits in six innings. He had seven strikeouts, including five in the first two innings.
Prior to Belmont’s 0-for-2 effort in the regional, the Atlantic Sun Conference had won at least one regional game in each of the last 15 seasons. The Bruins contributed to the streak last year when they went 2-2 in their first NCAA Regional, which was played at Vanderbilt.
Belmont officially joins the Ohio Valley Conference on July 1.