LAKE WALES, Fla. -- Behind strong pitching and timely hitting, the No. 18 Bellevue University baseball team swept their way to a pair of wins on the first day of the Warner University Tournament. Bellevue defeated St. Francis (Ill.) in the first game of the day, 7-0, before downing Mount Vernon Nazarene University, 6-1, in game two.
With the sweep the Bruins have now won four straight games to improve to 11-6 on the season. BU plays two more games tomorrow with the action set to begin at 9:30 a.m. against Spring Arbor followed by a 12:30 p.m. contest against Thomas.
Game One: Bellevue 7, St. Francis 0
Ben McKendall (W, 4-0) fired a complete game, four-hit shutout and the Bruin offense put away the Fighting Saints with a four-run sixth inning as BU picked up a win to open the Warner Tournament.
Bellevue struck first with a run in the bottom of the third. With the bases loaded and two outs a wild pitch from USF starter Kevin Mampe saw Diego Iribarren score the game's first run.
After two quick outs in the sixth inning the BU bats got rolling again. Iribarren doubled to left center and Blake Macdonald was hit by a pitch ahead of Brandon Salmon's two-run triple down the right field line. Matt Evans scored Salmon with a bunt single and came around to score himself on Bontempo's double to left center.
Two Bruins picked up multi-hit games as Evans finished 3-for-3 on the game and Iribarren went 2-for-2.
Mampe (L, 2-2) took the loss for USF after allowing seven runs on 12 hits and a pair of walks. He struck out six in six innings on the hill.
Game Two: Bellevue 6, Mount Vernon Nazarene 1
For the second game in a row Bellevue used a four-run inning to break open a close game and secure a victory, 6-1 over the Cougars of Mount Vernon Nazarene, at the Warner Tournament.
The Bruins again struck first with a pair of runs in the third inning. Brandon Salmon singled home Diego Iribarren from third with one out and later came around to score on a bases loaded walk issued to Hunter Kelly.
Jaime Montero cut the BU lead in half with a sac fly in the bottom of the third.
BU broke the game open in the fourth. After Joe Moran and Iribarren reached to lead off the inning four straight Bruin batters drove in runs starting with a single from Salmon. Matt Evans followed with squeeze play before Derik Bontempo and Riley Baasch popped back-to-back run scoring doubles into the gaps in right center and left center, respectively.
Dylan Thorp got the start for Bellevue and pitched three effective innings, limiting MVNU to just one run on three hits while striking out five against three walks.
Anthony Contonio (W, 1-0) earned his first win as a Bruin with four innings of shutout relief. He allowed the Cougars a single hit and one walk as he struck out three out of the 'pen.
Clint Conner (L, 1-2) took the loss for MVNU after he was charged with allowing all six runs on 10 hits in five innings of work.