Bellarmine defeats Drury to secure first Great Lakes Valley title since 1989
EVANSVILLE, Ind. -- Bellarmine defeated Drury 2-1 on Sunday at Bosse Field to capture the Great Lakes Valley Conference Championship. The title is Bellarmine's third overall, but its first since 1989.
Sunday's championship game was a pitching battle that Bellarmine won with superior fielding. All three runs scored in the game were unearned as Bellarmine's runs came by way of a passed ball or throwing error and Drury's lone run came after the batter reached on catcher's interference. The Panthers committed five errors on the day, while the Knights committed just one miscue in addition to the catcher's interference.
Bellarmine struck first after Cody Scheler led off the second inning with a double and came around to score when Drury third baseman Alex Larkin made a throwing error on Nick Hladek's sacrifice bunt.
The following inning, the Knights again took advantage of poor fielding by the Panthers. Michael Morrissette led off with a single, then advanced to second when Jes Staples reached on an error charged to the Drury second baseman. Austin Crutcher moved the runners up with a sacrifice bunt, and Morrissette reached home with the eventual winning run on a passed ball.
Drury's lone run came in the bottom of the third when Larkin was awarded first base due to catcher's interference. After a sacrifice bunt, Drury's Nick Thimesch delivered a double to drive in Larkin and picked up the game's only RBI.
The scoreboard showed only zeros for the remainder of the game with Bellarmine getting clutch performances by starting pitcher Phil Forbis and reliever Curtis McCombs, both of whom worked four innings. Knights' closer Justin Strohmeier came on in the ninth, and although he allowed two base runners, picked up his 10th save of the season and his third of the GLVC tournament.
Kevin Sweeney tossed a complete game for the top-seeded Panthers, but was the hard-luck loser due to the two unearned runs.