pitched 8 2/3 scoreless innings
SAUGET, Ill. - Brian
Beltz demonstrated Saturday night why the pitching staff at Northern
Kentucky University is considered one of the deepest, most talented
group of hurlers in the nation.
Beltz pitched 8 2/3
and struck out nine batters before giving way to Steve Thomas as
NKU posted a 1-0 win over Quincy in the Great Lakes Valley Conference
Tournament. The top-seeded Norse improved to 41-18-1 and will play
for the GLVC championship at 4 p.m. (Eastern time) against the winner
of the Quincy/Indianapolis game.
Beltz, a junior left-hander
and a graduate of Louisville Ballard High School, upped his record
to 6-4. He scattered four hits and walked only one batter.
Thomas notched his 11th
save of the season by getting Nick Dunning to ground out to third
base for the final out with runners on first and second. Beltz retired
the first two batters of the inning, but Chris Scroggins singled
and NKU head coach Todd Asalon called on Thomas to close out the
Thomas, a senior from
Elder High School in Cincinnati, allowed a single to Matt Nichols
before getting the final out.
Kory Lonergan scored
the game’s only run in the first inning by coming home from
third on Conor McGeehan’s sacrifice fly to center field. Beltz
then outdueled Quincy starter Brad Bumpus - who also allowed just
four hits and struck out seven - for the victory.
In the first game Saturday,
NKU rallied from a 5-4 deficit in the ninth inning to tie the score,
and the Norse scored twice in the 11th to pull out a 7-5 decision
over Southern Illinois at Edwardsville. Jon Back’s RBI single
in the 11th snapped a 5-all tie and was the key hit.
(right) is greeted by Jon Back
Kenny Wilson later drew
a bases-loaded walk to force in an insurance run, and Thomas picked
up the win by pitching a perfect bottom of the 11th inning.
gave NKU a 1-0 lead in the second inning by crushing a pitch from
Clay Zavada over the fence in left-center field. SIUE roared back
in the bottom of the inning with a three-run homer by
Bryan Newby to take a 3-1 advantage.
NKU struck for two runs
in the third inning to even the score at 2-all as Chris Nann and
McGeehan each drew bases-loaded walks. The Norse took a 4-3 lead
in the fourth inning when Lonergan singled in Wilson.
SIUE bounced back in
the bottom of the eighth with a pair of runs to take a 5-4 advantage,
but NKU responded by taking advantage of a Cougar error in the ninth.
Matt Jones - who tied an NKU single-game record with five hits -
doubled to start the inning, and McGeehan lined a one-out single
to right field with Jones being held up at third.
SIUE right fielder Jeff
Darnall, however, uncorked an errant throw that short-hopped catcher
Seth Hall and bounced up the third-base line, allowing Jones to
trot in from third to tie the game. McGeehan advanced to third on
the same play via another Cougar error, but D’Ippolito struck
out swinging to strand the go-ahead run 90 feet from home.
NKU starter Paul David
Patterson went seven innings and allowed just one earned run. He
also struck out three batters.
NKU, which reached the
40-win plateau for the first time since 1989, is currently ranked
23rd nationally in the NCAA Division II poll. The Norse are No.
2 in the North Central Region rankings.
NKU is going for its
third GLVC Tournament championship in the last five years. The Norse
also won the event in 2002 and ’04.