SATURDAY, MAY 23, 2009
Baseball defeats No. 6 Belmont, 7-5, to advance to A-Sun final
Senior Billy Schlee
Senior Billy Schlee
Senior catcher Jeremy Gillan went 3-for-4 with a double and three RBI while senior Billy Schlee hurled a career-best seven innings of relief to lead the JU baseball team to a 7-5 win over No. 6 Belmont, Saturday afternoon in the second semifinal game of the 2009 Atlantic Sun Conference Championship at Melching Field.

JU (35-20) advances to the A-Sun Championship Game against No. 2 Lipscomb after pounding out seven runs on seven hits.

Belmont (29-29) has its season come to an end after reaching the semifinals with a 6-5 win over No. 5 Mercer on Thursday.

Senior Billy Schlee (4-2) got the win after allowing one run (none earned) while scattering three hits with a walk and four strikeouts in seven innings of work. Sophomore Matt Loosen got the no-decision after allowing two runs on one hit with two walks while not recording an out in the first.

Tyler Grakewicz (2-7) was tagged with the loss after allowing three runs on two hits with four walks and a strikeout in 3.1 innings of relief. Logan Simmons also got the no-decision after allowing three runs on two hits with two walks in 1.2 innings.

Along with Gillan, junior second baseman Chuck Opachich went 2-for-4 with an RBI while senior left fielder Kyle Fleming finished 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI.

Packy Elkins and Dylan Craig each went 2-for-4 to lead the Bruins.

The Bruins took a 2-0 lead in the first when Brandon McCall drew a bases loaded walk and Derek Hamblen drove in a run with a fielder’s choice to third.

The Dolphins cut the deficit to 2-1 in the bottom of the first when senior right fielder Thomas Myers hit a sacrifice fly to right. With one out, Fleming was hit by a pitch and then moved to third on a single through the right side by Gillan. Myers followed with a drive into right center to drive in Fleming.

JU took a 3-2 lead in the second when sophomore third baseman Glen Johnson hit an RBI ground out and Opachich hit an RBI single with two outs.

Senior designated hitter Brad Simmons drew a walk to lead off the inning and then moved to second when sophomore shortstop Jamaal Hawkins was hit by a pitch. After both runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore center fielder Chris Connelly, Johnson pulled a ball to short to drive in Simmons. With two outs, Opachich followed with a flare single to left to give the Dolphins their first lead.

Belmont evened the game, 3-3, in the fourth when a run scored on a Dolphin fielding error with two outs.

The Dolphins took a 6-3 lead in the sixth when Fleming hit an RBI double and Gillan tallied a two-run single.

Johnson led off the inning with a walk and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Opachich moved Johnson to third with a bunt single to third before Fleming drove in a run with a laced double down the left-field line. Gillan followed with a single to center to empty the bases.

JU made it 7-3 in the seventh when Gillan hit an RBI double. With two outs, Opachich was hit by a pitch and then moved to second on a single to short by Fleming. In then next at-bat, Gillan laced a double into right center to drive in the insurance run.

The Bruins cut the deficit to 7-4 in the eighth when Elkins hit an RBI infield single off the mound. Belmont would add another run in ninth.

The game can be followed live on 1010XL with Barry Milligan calling all of the action and on ASun.TV by logging onto JUDolphins.com.