Belmont's Craig, Lipscomb's Williams reach the top of the charts

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 10:54pm

M.L. Williams arrived at college with the hope of exceeding his father’s records. Dylan Craig was less ambitious.

Last weekend, however, both found themselves on top of their schools’ all-time charts.

Williams, a senior, recorded his school-record 145th career run during Lipscomb’s first ever sweep against Mercer on Sunday. A day earlier, across town at Rose Park, senior Dylan Craig became Belmont's all-time leader in hits with 291. He sliced a single down the left field line in as the Bruins (16-10, 4-2 Atlantic Sun) picked up a series victory against No. 15 Stetson.

“It came as a shock at first,” Craig said. “I want the team to succeed. When the team succeeds, I succeed. That’s how I look at it.”

For Williams, he now owns two school records.

He passed Allen Broden (2006-09) for most runs scored when he crossed the plate on Sunday after Zak Messer hit a go-ahead home run on Sunday. Messer, a senior second baseman, earned the school’s first A-Sun player of the week honors since Lipscomb joined the league in 2002.

Williams, a switch-hitting left fielder, took hold of the career hits record earlier this season. Heading into Tuesday’s game at Tennessee-Martin, he had 234 hits — 19 ahead of Ryan Wilkins (2007-10).

“It is a pretty special feat,” Williams said. “I’ve always wanted to break a couple records while I was here. That kind of motivated me as well. I always joke around with my father about it that I got more hits than him.”

Williams, who played high school baseball in Marietta, Ga., and in New Jersey, owns bragging rights at home. His father, Melvin, played at Lipscomb from 1978-81, and was on the 1979 NAIA national championship team. He was drafted by the Phillies in the 1981 and spent three years in the minor leagues.

The younger Williams also dreams of playing professionally after he graduates. Presently, though, he plans on guiding the Bison (10-14, 3-3) back to the A-Sun tournament for the first time since 2009.

“I feel like we are headed in the right direction,” Williams said. “After the sweep in our first conference [series against USC Upstate] maybe kind of motivated us, maybe kind of woke us up.”

Craig didn’t underplay the significance of his milestone, either. The left-handed hitting center fielder from Signal Mountain is batting .327 and is tied for the team-lead in RBIs with 21. The preseason all-conference selection also shares the Belmont record for career triples (21).

He surpassed former teammate Derek Hamblen in all-time hits. Hamblen collected 290 hits from 2008-11.

“It really means a lot to me,” Craig said. “It proves to myself that I come out here every day and leave it all on the field. I work my butt off. I have great coaches who put their faith in me to hit and do my job. It just helps reaffirm to myself that I actually have the ability to play this sport, have the ability to do great things.”