Career-best pitching performance keeps Belmont in OVC baseball tournament

Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 10:00pm

Chase Brookshire struck out a career-high 14 and Belmont avoided elimination from the Ohio Valley Conference baseball tournament with a 6-3 victory over Jacksonville State on Thursday at The Ballpark at Jackson.

Brookshire, a senior from Chattanooga, struck out the first two batters he faced and at least one in eight of the nine innings. The last — he got shortstop Andrew Bishop swinging — ended the contest.

It was the highest strikeout total in an OVC tournament game in 12 years and the most ever in an OVC tournament game at a neutral site. The other 13 outs were divided almost equally between groundouts (seven) and flyouts (six).

“I felt good,” Brookshire said. “… Mostly, I just wanted to enjoy myself. This potentially could be my last start at Belmont.”

Third baseman Matt Beaty had one hit but drove in three runs, right fielder Judah Akers had two hits and two runs scored and second baseman Alec Diamond was 4-for-4 with an RBI.

Belmont (38-19) bunched its 10 hits, seven of which were singles, and scored all of its runs in the second, third and fourth innings. Beaty drove in one run with a groundout in the third and two more with a one-out double in the fourth.

Jacksonville (32-26) managed five hits, three by Griff Gordon, who also drew the only walk Brookshire allowed. Griffin led off the fourth inning with a triple and scored his team’s first run and hit a solo home run in the sixth.

“When we got up and got ahead by a little bit of a safer margin, [Brookshire] gave up a couple of runs,” Belmont coach Dave Jarvis said. “… That’s Chase being unselfish, pitching ahead in the count, trying to manage his pitch count, keep himself in the ball game. … He knew, if he could save our bullpen, what that meant for the rest of the tournament.”

Belmont plays another elimination 11 a.m. Friday.

• Lipscomb in limbo: Lipscomb led 3-0 in the bottom of the second when its Atlantic Sun tournament game against Florida Gulf Coast was suspended due to weather. The elimination contest was set to resume at 7:30 a.m. (CDT) Friday.

The Bisons scored all three runs in the first, two on a home run by Tyson Ashcraft.

Lipscomb (24-33) opened the tournament earlier in the day with a 6-1 loss to North Florida.

The Bisons took a 1-0 lead in the fourth when Lee Wilson scored from second on Ashcraft’s bunt down the third base line. They managed just three hits, though, and allowed two unearned runs.