Dylan Craig scored twice and Matt Beaty had both RBIs as Belmont defeated Lipscomb 2-1 Friday at Rose Park in the opener of a critical, season-ending three-game series for both teams.
The victory gave the Bruins (33-21, 15-10) sole possession of third place in the Atlantic Sun Conference standings and all but guaranteed them a spot in next week’s conference tournament. They need either one more win or a loss by one of two other teams to secure their spot.
Lipscomb (25-28, 14-11), which had won seven of its previous eight conference contests, fell a game behind Belmont but remained in contention for a tournament berth as well.
“Any time we play Lipscomb it is going to be an extremely competitive environment,” Belmont coach Dave Jarvis said. “We fight each other tooth and nail during the course of the competition, and after it’s over we shake hands. I’m very proud of that aspect of this rivalry.”
Craig, the conference’s active hits leader, reached base three times in four appearances with a single and two walks.
Both walks led to runs. He scored from third on Beaty’s two-out single in the third, and came home on a sacrifice fly by Beaty, the Bruins’ RBI leader with 39, in the fifth.
Chase Brookshire earned his career-best seventh win when he allowed four hits and an unearned run in eight innings. The junior left-hander struck out five, walked one and lowered his ERA to 2.22.
Scott Moses pitched the ninth for his second save.
“It’s easy to get excited about this weekend,” Brookshire said. “They’re our cross-town rival, and a lot was on the line, so it wasn’t hard to get motivated to come out and pitch well.”
Zach Lowery had two of Lipscomb’s five hits and in the seventh scored the Bisons’ only run. Starting pitcher Connor Sinclair, a senior, allowed seven hits and four walks in five innings but gave up just the two runs. Gil Rehwinkel pitched three scoreless innings in relief.
“This was just a well-played game,” Lipscomb coach Jeff Forehand said. “We didn’t score when we had a chance to score. Against a pitcher like [Brookshire], when you have opportunities to score, you have to score because you don’t get very many.
“… We’ve got to try and figure it out and come back with a little more urgency and see if we can even it up.”
The next game is set for 5 p.m. Friday and the series concludes 1 p.m. Saturday.
The conference tournament begins Wednesday at DeLand, Fla.