Belmont head coach Dave Jarvis has never been one to show much emotion on the baseball field.
So when he jumped into his team’s dogpile moments after they won their second straight Atlantic Sun championship and NCAA tournament bid Saturday night, he had some explaining to do.
“I was a bit too stoic last year, and I really wanted to celebrate with this group,” Jarvis told television announcers after the game.
Belmont’s 10-4 championship-clinching victory came over the Kennesaw State Owls, who had defeated the Bruins earlier in the tournament and forced them to win three games in two days to win the tournament title.
First baseman Judah Akers played a significant role in Belmont’s win. He was named the tournament’s MVP after going 5-for-5 at the plate with four RBI’s.
The Bruins’s 10 runs did not come early in the game, as Kennesaw State took an 1-0 lead in the second with an RBI hit by Max Pentecost.
Belmont tried to respond offensively with an Akers single and a sacrifice bunt from Alec Diamond, but pitcher Colton Cross kept them from scoring in the second.
Aaron Dobbs kept the Owls’ momentum with a double down the first base foul line in the third. Ronnie Freeman brought him in with a two-out RBI single and gave the Owls a 2-0 lead.
The Bruins then came into the third looking to score, and did. Matt Beaty’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly brought in a run, as did Akers’ two-out, game-tying hit to center field.
In the fifth, the Bruins offense came to life again with a Beaty RBI hit that gave them a 3-2 lead. Three straight singles after that forced Kennesaw State to change pitchers, but Belmont wasn’t slowed. Akers’ two-run double and Jared Breen’s RBI single gave them a 6-2 lead.
Cutting down Belmont’s lead, Kody Belcher knocked in a run for the Owls. An over thrown ball to first gave Kennesaw their last run of the game.
In the bottom of the sixth, Belmont answered with Akers’ RBI single to extend their lead to 7-4. In the eighth, Zac Mitchell hit a home run and pinch hitter William Dodd brought in two more runners to give the Bruins their final runs of the game.
In addition to Akers, Drew Turner and Mitchell also were named the Atlantic Sun all-tournament team.
Belmont’s regional site in the NCAA tournament will be announced Monday.
Check belmontvision.com for updates on this and future games.