Woods Pitches Bruins into Championship Field

Saturday, May 21, 2011

DELAND, Fla. – The Belmont baseball team (32-24, 17-13) defeated #17 Stetson (40-16, 23-7) by a score of 11-5 on Saturday afternoon, handing the Hatters their first Atlantic Sun Conference series loss of the season with two Bruin victories on the weekend. Belmont earns a spot in the A-Sun Playoffs after missing out a year ago, and will be the sixth seed in next week's tournament.

Senior Nate Woods (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) had not pitched a conference contest since April 2nd, when he allowed nine runs on 10 hits in three and two thirds innings pitched in a 13-2 loss to Jacksonville. The captain fell to 2-5 on the mound in that tilt, and has yet to lose a game since then. Before today, Woods had won three straight contests, all coming of the non-conference midweek variety.

Head Coach Dave Jarvis made the decision to give the ball to his senior captain in this quasi must win situation. Woods continued his recent success, earning his fourth straight win after allowing only two runs on four hits and striking out four Stetson batters to lead the Bruins to the 11-5 victory.

The Bruins scored first, just as they did in the first two meetings between these two squads. Senior Derek Hamblen (Plano, Texas) led off the game with a single through the infield, and then scored when senior Matt Zeblo (Raleigh, N.C.) reached base on an error by the Stetson third baseman.

After allowing the Hatters to tie the game at 1-1 in the bottom half of the first, Belmont took the lead and extended it to 6-1 over their next two times at the plate. Sophomore Jared Breen (Marietta, Ga.) walked, junior Zac Mitchell (Cordova, Tenn.) singled to center, and then Hamblen singled to right center, driving in Breen.

Hamblen's second hit of the contest gave him 71 on the season and 281 for his career, making him the all-time leader in career hits at Belmont. He passed former Bruin Wilson Tucker, who totaled 280 during his career from 2004-07. BU scored one more in the second after a ground out by junior Dylan Craig (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) drove in Mitchell.