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Baseball outshined by Commodores at First Horizon Park

Mason "Butter" Landers stands on first after loading the bases in the botttom of first. Brock Martynowski/Belmont Vision

Belmont University baseball took to Nashville’s First Horizon Park on Tuesday night for the annual nine-inning battle against neighboring Vanderbilt University.

Unable to provide the upset over the No. 6 ranked Commodores, Belmont fell to an overall record of 7-11.

Despite the outdoor temperature not exceeding over the 40s, the bats stayed warm for both squads as Vanderbilt won 15-6.

In the top of the first with freshman Joe Ruzicka on the mound for the Bruins, the Commodores racked up four runs, going through their batting order.

The Bruins responded in the bottom of the inning, however, as junior Drew Lowry drove in two runs with a hard hit single to leftfield.

Belmont made a pitching change in the second inning, placing sophomore Cade Granzow on the hill, and allowed no runs in the inning.

But in the top of the third, Vanderbilt extended its lead to 6-2 after a double from RJ Austin, a single from Chris Maldonado and a sacrifice fly from Jonathan Vastine.

After another inning in which the Bruins failed to score any runs, the Commodores cushioned their lead to five in the top of the fourth.

The bats cooled in the fifth as the score remained 7-2, but they picked back up in the top of the sixth with a two-run home run from Vanderbilt’s Jack Bulger.

Freshman pitcher Jake Timbes, who entered in for freshman Simon Tesh, pitched a quick and impressive seventh inning for the Bruins, striking out two batters.

The Bruin offense eyed a comeback in the bottom of the inning as junior Jack Rando immediately homered, tightening the Commodore lead to 9-3.

Jack Rando slides into second early in the contest. Brock Martynowski/Belmont Vision

Following Rando, junior Mason Landers singled with a hit through the left side gap.

Sophomore Blake Barton continued the streak with another single and junior Brodey Heaton walked.

With no outs and bases loaded, pitcher Patrick Reilly and Commodores seemed to have trouble on their hands.

From there, Lowry put the ball into play with a grounder and reached on a fielder’s choice tag at second. Landers scored on the play to make it 9-4.

But the Bruins were not finished as junior Max Blessinger batted in Barton with another Bruin run, making it a four run game.

The Commodores added three more runs in the top of the eighth thanks to RBIs from Bulger, Austin and Maldonado.

The bottom of the eighth saw a new pitcher for the Commodores in lefty Ryan Ginther who allowed a single from Belmont junior Sam Kirkpatrick and an RBI double from Rando.

Heading into the ninth, Vanderbilt led 12-6.

But the Commodores continued to score, adding three more runs in the final inning with a two run homer from Vastine and a sacrifice fly from RJ Schreck.

The Bruins looked to respond in the bottom of the inning with a single to left from Blessinger but were unable to score another run as the Commodores took home the win.

Overall, the Bruins racked up 12 hits, the most allowed by Vanderbilt since its season opener against No. 11 ranked Texas Christian University.

Belmont will return to E.S. Rose Park on Friday to kickstart a four game, weekend series against Lindenwood University.

After the series, the Bruins will face the University of Southern Indiana for one game before starting their Missouri Valley Conference schedule versus Illinois State University on March 24.

This article was written by A.J. Wuest

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