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Regional Reaction: ULM 6, Belmont 3

6/2/2012

Louisiana-Monroe (32-29) bounced back from a tantalizing loss to LSU in fine form Saturday afternoon, eliminating Belmont (39-24) from the Baton Rouge regional in the process.

Overview: Much like Friday, pitching dominated in the early going of a small ball clinic by both the Warhawks and the Bruins. Belmont could not register a hit on ULM starter Cale Wine until the fourth inning, while ULM continually made contact on Belmont's Matt Hamann but could not push runs across the plate.

After stranding three runners in the first two innings, the Warhawks finally got on the board when shortstop Jeremy Sy tripled to right field and reached home on a fielder's choice. ULM built the lead to 3-0 in the next inning, when Brandon Alexander scored from third on a wild pitch before Corben Green scored another with a sacrifice fly to left field.

Belmont bounced back to score all three of their runs in a clutch fifth inning. The Bruins knocked ULM for four hits -- all singles -- in the inning to tie the score, 3-3.

It looked like the Warhawks would continue their struggles on the base paths, as Belmont pitcher Scott Moses was able to strand five different ULM runners in his two innings of work.

Turning point: The Bruins' good fortune in limiting ULM ended in the eighth, however. The Warhawks were able to load the bases on the strength of a leadoff base hit, followed by a hit by pitch and a walk. ULM left fielder Les Aulds batted the Warhawks into a 4-3 lead with an RBI from a fielder's choice.

But it was Sy who broke the game open and kept the Warhawks' season alive. The shortstop blooped a base hit to shallow center field with one out to score two runs and give ULM its final advantage of 6-3.

From there, ULM reliever Kendall Thamm was able to sit the Bruins down in order in the ninth to preserve the win.

Key player: Sy was a home run short of the cycle in an impressive performance at the plate. He went 3-for-4 on the afternoon with a walk. His leadoff triple in the third gave ULM its first lead of the game, and his base hit in the eight provided the insurance for the win. He also made a beautiful jumping catch in shallow left field in the game's first inning.

Key stat: It obviously didn't matter in the end, but ULM stranded nine runners in an inconsistent outing against the Bruins' pitching staff -- that includes a wasted opportunity with the bases loaded in the sixth inning. The Warhawks can't waste offense like that against LSU or Oregon State.

What's next: Belmont's season is done. ULM will play the loser of tonight's Tigers-Beavers clash on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.