ULM 6, Belmont 3
ULM picked up its third ever victory in the NCAA Tournament with a 6-3 victory over Belmont Saturday in an elimination game at Baton Rouge Regional. With the win the Warhawks (32-29) advance to play to loser of tonight's Oregon State-LSU game Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
The Warhawks broke open a 3-3 game with three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, highlighted by a two RBI single up the middle by senior shortstop Jeremy Sy. The Sun Belt Player of the Year finished the day 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI and a run scored. Junior third baseman Judd Edwards also collected three hits and scored two runs for ULM.
Edwards started the eighth inning with a double to left-center off Belmont reliever Scott Moses (2-3). Green was hit by a pitch with one out and Justin Stawychny drew a walk to load the bases. Senior Les Aulds gave the Warhawks the lead with an RBI groundout to score Edwards, and Sy followed to give the Warhawks a three-run advantage.
That was all senior reliever Kendall Thamm would need as he sat down the Bruins in order in the ninth inning to earn his seventh victory of the season. The left hander from Baytown, Texas was brilliant in relief of starter Cale Wine, pitching 4.2 innings and giving up just one hit and a walk while striking out three batters.
Sy laced a one-out triple down the right-field line and came home on an RBI groundout from Caleb Clowers to put the Warhawks on the board first in the third inning.
ULM added a pair of runs in the fourth inning to grab a 3-0 advantage. Brandon Alexander led off the inning with a soft double down the left-field line and advanced to third on a bunt single from Judd Edwards. Following a strikeout by Taylor Abdalla, Alexander came around to score on a wild pitch and Corben Green knocked in Edwards with a sacrifice fly to left field.
Belmont (39-24) answered right back with a three-run fifth inning that chased ULM starter Cale Wine and tied the game at 3-all. The Bruins opened the frame with three straight singles to cut the lead to 3-1. A sacrifice bunt by Jared Breen advanced runners to second and third, and Phillip Parsley followed with an RBI single to left field. Thamm replaced Wine and gave up a sacrifice fly to right field before Drew Turner grounded out to third base to end the threat.
Wine pitched 4.1 innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits while striking out two. He gave up just one hit through the first four innings before finding trouble in the fifth.
Notes: ?A day after snapping his 27-game hitting streak, senior Caleb Clowers went 1-for-4 with an RBI against Belmont ... Saturday's game was the first meeting ever between ULM and Belmont ... ULM coach Jeff Shexnaider won his 168th game as ULM's head coach, he is now three shy of Bill Dotson (1966-72) for third on the ULM wins list.
Postgame Quotes from ULM Head Coach Jeff Shexnaider?: "I am proud of guys. What a great ballclub Belmont is. To have the opportunity to play them was an honor in itself so I'm proud of our guys. We got a lead and then they were able to answer back. During that inning, Kendall (Thamm) came on and from then on he was dynamite the rest of the way. You've got to get the timely hits and we were able to do that today."
"I feel so privileged and fortunate to get a chance to be around these guys. I had that feeling about them from the fall. Everything was just different. The senior leadership, the camaraderie and the chemistry all made it enjoyable to go to the park every day in the fall. Every day for practice I think these guys have a good time. It makes the coaches enjoy it as well. I just felt privileged to have one of the best seats to watch them get after it. These guys understand how fortunate they are to be here. They want to enjoy every minute of it, but they are looking forward to the next game as well."