Despite a late comeback attempt, the Belmont baseball team was unable to overcome an error-filled fifth inning in an 8-4 loss to the No. 3 Vanderbilt Commodores on Tuesday afternoon.
With the ballgame tied 1-1 heading into the fifth, three Bruin errors allowed the Commodores to retake a lead they would not give back.
“I’m extremely disappointed in our defensive errors and base running mistakes that cost us time and time again in the ballgame,” said Belmont coach Dave Jarvis. “It completely changes the complexion and outcome of the game.”
James Buckelew recorded the loss for the Bruins but produced several solid innings for the Bruins as the left-hander struck out six.
“He handled a whole lot of adversity when we were making silly defensive mistakes around him. He was able to reset and get back on the mound,” Jarvis said.
Buckelew went to work quickly in the first inning and struck out the first two batters he faced.
After a throwing error and walk put Commodores on first and second, Buckelew confused Rhett Wiseman with a curveball to end the inning.
“I had my curveball today so I could throw for strikes, change ups too. My fastball felt good too. So the ability to throw all three for strikes was really hard for the hitters,” Buckelew said.
Buckelew continued his success as the bottom of the order went down 1-2-3 in the top of the second inning. Greg Brody got Belmont going in the bottom of the inning with an infield single for his first hit of the season. But the Bruins once again left runners on base.
After a walk in the top of the third, Jamie Ritchie timed the throw perfectly to second base to catch Ro Coleman stealing. Buckelew’s no-hitter was broken up in the fourth when Bryan Reynolds knocked out a solo home run to put the Commodores up 1-0.
In the bottom of the inning, Brody slid in scoring position with a triple and came across to score after a sacrifice fly from Matthew Kinney to tie the game.
After a walk and base hit from Norwood, Vanderbilt loaded the bases on a fielding error from Ritchie and a sacrifice fly from Reynolds brought Campbell across to take a 2-1 lead.
Another error loaded the bases once again for the Commodores and a throwing error from Alec Diamond tacked on two more runs to extend Vanderbilt’s lead 4-1. After a balk brought across Karl Ellison for the score, Coleman sent out a two run homer to put Vanderbilt up by six.
In the bottom of the eighth, Scott Moses came off the bench and slammed a home run to trim the lead 8-3.
“With them up 8-1, I was thinking I was going to see another fastball. I just put a good swing on it,” Moses said.
The Bruins tried to use that spark in the ninth inning and loaded the bases after back to back batters were hit by pitch.
While Belmont scored a final run on the last at-bat, a heads up play from Dansby Swanson tagged out Drew Ferguson at third base to end the game.
With the loss, Belmont dropped to 7-13 on the season. The Bruins will host conference opponent Eastern Kentucky in a three-game series starting Friday.