College baseball weekend: Belmont slugger reins in a couple records

Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 8:52pm

Nate Woods does not know why he took his equipment home with him at the end of last week. The Belmont junior is glad he did, though.

Many of his teammates lost gloves, cleats, bats and other items necessary for college baseball players when record-setting rains produced floods that – among other things – drowned the Bruins’ home field at Shelby Park.

“I always leave my stuff in the locker room there,” Woods said. “It’s always locked up and stays safe. I just didn’t this time, for some reason.”

With all of his usual equipment he was the winning pitcher and hit his 17th home run, which tied the school’s single-season record, in a 4-1 victory Monday over North Florida in the first half of a doubleheader. He also drove in four runs, which gave him a school-record 67 for the season.

Both the RBI and home run marks belonged exclusively to Derek Wiley, who was drafted last year by Atlanta and currently plays in the Braves’ system.

“I guess I never did think about (breaking records),” Woods said. “… I love Derek and I loved playing with him. I wish he was still here. I’ve tried a couple times to call him but I haven’t gotten a hold of him.

“I hope he’s not going to kill me.”

Woods loaned the glove he used when he pitched the first game Monday to a teammate for the second, when he played first base.

Despite the shortage of equipment due to the flood, the Bruins won the second game as well and moved to seventh place in the Atlantic Sun Conference standings.

With six conference games remaining, Belmont is two and half games out of sixth. The top six teams make the conference tournament.

That closing stretch does not begin until next week, though. The Bruins are off this weekend because final exams were scheduled for this week.

“You would like to have that momentum and keep playing,” Woods said. “North Florida was in second place, but was off the previous weekend for their finals and they didn’t seem to have that rhythm.”

The Ospreys did have all of their equipment, though.

A look at other local college baseball action scheduled for this weekend:

Southeastern Conference

• No. 18 Vanderbilt (33-12, 10-9) at No. 17 LSU (33-13, 11-10), Alex Box Stadium, Baton Rouge, La.
Game times: 7 p.m. Friday; 6 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. Sunday

Vanderbilt relief pitcher Russell Brewer has 18 career saves, one short of the school record set by Ryan Rote in two seasons (2004-05). Brewer has six saves this season (two short of his personal best) and 29 strikeouts with just five walks in 22.1 innings pitched.

Atlantic Sun Conference

• Lipscomb (15-29, 6-11) at North Florida (24-20, 10-7), Harmon Stadium, Jacksonville, Fla.
Game times: 7 p.m. Friday; 1 p.m. Saturday (doubleheader)

Junior third baseman Zach Messer is fourth on the team with five home runs. Three of them came in a doubleheader last Friday against Jacksonville. The junior college transfer also had seven RBIs in those games, which lifted him to second on the team, one behind Cory Hale, who has 47.

TranSouth Athletic Conference

• Trevecca Nazarene (29-22, 7-12) at Martin Methodist (21-26, 10-9), Sam Davis Park, Pulaski
Game time: 1 p.m. Friday

The series opened Thursday with a doubleheader. Martin Methodist won both games, the second 5-4 on a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth. The two defeats knocked Trevecca out of next week’s conference tournament.

Sun Belt Conference

• Middle Tennessee State (26-18, 14-10) vs. Southern Illinois (25-16, 10-8), Reese Smith Jr. Field, Murfreesboro
Game times: 6 p.m. Friday; 4 p.m. Saturday; 1 p.m. Sunday

Sophomore Justin Guidry not only leads the Blue Raiders in batting average at .417, he also has the best ERA at 3.34 in 14 appearances all in relief. He was just 3-for-12 (.250) last weekend when MTSU was swept at Louisiana-Lafayette and gave up a run in the bottom of the sixth of the second game, after his team cut a three-run deficit to one.