April 4, 2003
Belmont University snapped Florida Atlantic University's seven game win streak Friday night as the Bruins defeated FAU 6-3 in an Atlantic Sun Conference game. BU out hit FAU 10-7 in the battle between the top two teams in the conference.
FAU (28-8, 12-4 A-Sun) struck first in the first inning after Derek Hutton (Palm Beach Gardens, FL) led off with a single that bounced over the third baseman's head. The sophomore moved over to second base when Shaen O'Connor was issued a free pass by Belmont's starting pitcher, Cody Blackard on four straight pitches. Hutton moved to third on a Jeff Fiorentino fielder's choice and then scored on a Rusty Brown grounder to the shortstop Brad Dobner for the first run of the game.
The Bruins (15-10, 11-5 A-Sun) answered in the second when FAU starter Chris Pillsbury walked the second batter in the inning Jay Pettus and then gave up singles to Brandon Paetznick and number nine hitter Dobner who recorded the first RBI on the night for Belmont. Dobner finished the game with a three-for-three performance and two RBIs to lead the Bruins.
Three costly errors by the FAU defense allowed Belmont to cross the plate three times in the fourth inning for a 4-1 lead. A lead off single followed by three sacrifice bunts and an error put the second run on the board. Ryan Pettit then hit an RBI single after striking out the first two trips to the plate and proceeded to score on what appeared to be an easy grounded to the shortstop by Jason Warpool. But a high throw by Evan Brannon allowed Pettit to score from second base.
Belmont padded the lead with another run in the fifth after Pillsbury loaded the bases on two walks and hit a batter. Dobner picked up his ninth RBI of the season and second of the night with a double down the left field line to increase the lead to 5-1.
Blackard retired 13 straight FAU hitters before loading the bases in the sixth with no one out. He then struck out his fourth batter of the night before a run saving catch by the shortstop Dobner saved at least one run and robbed Rusty Brown of a hit as he made a leaping catch. Mike Cox then grounded out to end the FAU threat.
Belmont added another run in the eighth before FAU countered back in the bottom of the eighth and again in the ninth. Florida Atlantic scored two unearned runs and closer Will Tucker entered the contest in the eighth with the tying run on deck to record his seventh save of the season.
The bases were loaded with no one out in the bottom of the ninth, but Tucker again worked out of a jam as Derek Hutton flied out to right field before a double played closed out the game for a 6-3 Belmont win.
Blackard (4-2) pitched 7 1/3 innings and struck out five, while reliever Tucker struck out one in his 1 2/3 innings of work.
Chris Pillsbury took the loss for FAU falling to 7-3 after he struck out four in 4 2/3 innings. James Callahan came out of the pen to finish the game and struck out a career-high six batters and only allowed two hits in 4 1/3 innings.