Smith's Gem Gives Billikens Shot at Title
ST. LOUIS - Senior RHP Clay Smith threw complete-game one-hitter against Charlotte this afternoon to help Saint Louis earn a 2-1 win over the conference leaders. The Billikens are now 35-18 overall and 16-7 in Atlantic 10 action. Tomorrow's game three between SLU and Charlotte will determine who receives the no. 1 seed in the A-10 Championship.
Today's game was a pitcher's duel throughout. Through eight innings, each team had only scored one run. Charlotte's John Hamilton threw 7.0 innings with six strikeouts and no walks with 10 hits allowed. Smith went the distance, hurling 9.0 innings with only one hit, five strikeouts and two walks.
In the bottom of the ninth, junior Danny Brennan led off with a single through the right side. The next batter was scheduled to be senior C.J. Rose, but Darin Hendrickson played the matchups and pinch hit with freshman T.J. Verdun. Verdun was sent to the plate to sacrifice, but an errant throw hit him on the arm, and he was awarded first base. Sophomore Alec Solé was next with the winning run at second base. He laid down a masterful bunt that not only advanced the runners, but allowed him to reach first safely. With the bases loaded and no one out, freshman leadoff hitter Michael Bozarth came to bat. He fouled off the first pitch he saw and took a called strike in the next pitch. The third pitch of the at bat came high and tight, hitting Bozarth and driving in the game-winning run.
The win was the Billikens' sixth one-run win this season. It also keeps SLU in second place in the A-10 standings, a game behind Charlotte. Tomorrow's contest, which is also Senior Night, will determine who will receive the top seed in next week's A-10 Championship. First pitch is scheduled for 2:15 p.m. Saint Louis will honor the senior class at 1:45.