Baseball team shares conference lead into home stretch
Sports

Baseball team shares conference lead into home stretch

As the Belmont baseball team continues to lead the Ohio Valley Conference in its inaugural season, coach Dave Jarvis is confident the team’s success is largely from the squad’s ability to adapt to new opponents and circumstances.

“There were some unknown aspects of what we were going to face on week in and week out, but I think our kids have done a great job of responding,” Jarvis said. “I’m very pleased with their approach and way they’ve gone about their business. But it’s still lot of baseball left.”

With a month to go before the OVC’s conference tournament, the Bruins have the best overall record and are tied for the top conference record with Jacksonville State. And despite a weekend series loss to the Austin Peay Governors, the team is confident with both how far they have come and where they can go.

“We’re happy where we are at as a team. But we always want to keep getting better,” said senior pitcher Chase Brookshire. “Hopefully we’ll be peaking at the right point here in few weeks.”

Hitting

Senior Judah Akers has led the Bruins at the plate this season with team highs in several offensive categories. His 10 home runs are tied for first in the conference and is 11th nationally among all hitters.

Sophomore Drew Ferguson has become a strong presence in the leadoff spot for the Bruins. The center fielder has a team high .458 on base percentage. Ferguson is also 10-for-12 in stolen base attempts, tied for eighth in the conference.

“That’s really just my job is to get on base. I’ve been more patient at the plate and just been trying to grind out at-bats and find way to get on base and run the bases like I know I’m able to,” Ferguson said.

The Bruins have outscored their opponents 236-163 runs this season, including a Rose Park record 25 runs against the SIU Edwardsville Cougars on April 14.

Pitching

Belmont continues to boast a stellar pitching rotation and bullpen that is currently first in the OVC with their combined 3.46 ERA. Brookshire’s 1.15 ERA is the lowest of both the team and in the conference.

Senior Josh Davis was also recently named to the Pitcher of the Year Watch List along with 40 other pitchers nationally. Despite a recent injury, the right hander is currently 1-1 with 2.25 ERA with a team-high nine saves in 15 appearances.

“It’s an honor and blessing but we still have a lot of work to do. Hopefully I can do my part and keep contributing in any way I can,” Davis said.

Other bullpen support comes from senior Jesse Snodgrass and sophomore Scott Moses.

“Jesse has been so valuable and resilient in his approach, in both long and short relief situations,” Jarvis said. “I can’t say enough about his physical force, but he has been great spirit and mental presence for us in the dugout.”

The sophomore pitching duo of Austin Coley and Dan Ludwig has contributed as starters on the mound for Belmont this season.

Ludwig has the most wins out of any pitchers in the conference with 8-1 record in 14 appearances, while Coley is undefeated with 6-0 record in 10 appearances and leads the conference with 65 strikeouts.

“It’s really easy to go in with a lot of confidence when you know offense is going to be productive throughout the entire game,” Ludwig said. “Just go out there and give the team chance to win by minimizing on big innings and keep score as low as you can.”

Road to Jackson

While classes are to soon end, the Belmont baseball team’s season isn’t. After a weekend home series against Eastern Illinois, the team still has three games series at conference co-leader Jacksonville State and third place Tennessee Tech. The team will also play Murray State at home and nationally-ranked Vanderbilt at Hawkins Field.

With the number of games they have against major conference and regional opponents, Akers said much of the team’s challenges before the OVC Tournament in Jackson, Tenn. are still in front of the team.

“It’s an exciting part of the year for us. Obviously we’ve been fairly hot up until this point and getting down to the end of year playing stronger teams,” Akers said. “We know as a team that we have the toughest part of the schedule ahead of us and not taking any weekend for granted. Just go out there and do what we’ve done, minimize the game, compete and see what happens.”

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