JACKSON, Miss. - Seniors Mike Kelly and Kevin Fontenot teamed up for a strong pitching performance as the Loyola University New Orleans baseball team upset top-seed and 10th-ranked Belhaven University 5-3 in the GCAC Tournament at Smith-Wills Stadium on Thursday evening.
Loyola (17-28) trailed only once in the game after Belhaven (39-14) scored a pair of runs to go up 2-1 in the fifth. The Wolfpack, however, took the lead back in the bottom half and never looked back as they went on to advance to the next round.
Kelly (4-3) threw seven innings for the win, giving up just two runs while scattering eight hits. He finished with five strikeouts on the night.
Fontenot picked up his fifth save of the year after taking over in the eighth. He gave up a solo homer in the ninth to Lake Eiland, then after a pair of Blazer singles, struck out Derek Tortorich to seal the victory.
The Wolfpack were led on offense by Brooks McMinn and Ryan Scott with two hits each. Scott and David McChesney led with two RBI.
Riley Galloway (1-5) took the loss, pitching six plus innings, giving up five runs on nine hits.
Belhaven was led by Timmy Foster with three hits. Jimmy Gilford, Eiland, and Brandon Benton had two hits a piece.
Both offenses struggled early on before McChesney put Loyola on the board in the third on a sac fly.
In the fifth, Belhaven took the lead on a pair of two-out run scoring singles. Foster tied the game with a hit up the middle, and Benton put the Blazers up on a single to right.
Loyola bounced back in the bottom of the fifth with their own two-out rally to take a 3-2 lead. With one out, Fontenot reach safely on a bunt single, stole second, then moved to third on a groundout. McChesney brought him in on an infield single, then Scott gave the ‘Pack the lead on a single to right.
Up by one, Loyola added two more runs in the seventh. Scott hit a routine fly ball to center, but Gilford was never able to get a read as Brooks McMinn came in to score. Caleb Templet gave the Wolfpack a 5-2 lead with an RBI single to right.
The Blazers made it interesting in the ninth, starting off with a one out homer from Eiland. After a single, Benton just missed tying the game with home run that barely went foul before reaching base on a single. Fontenot picked up the second out on a pop out, then struck out Tortorich, snapping Loyola’s 22-game losing streak against the Blazers.
Loyola advances to the next round to face 4th-seed Spring Hill College at 2:30 P.M. on Friday. Spring Hill lost their first-round game against William Carey, 13-3.