OZARK, Mo. -- Brynn Martinez doesn't believe Saturday night's 13-4 drubbing by Bellarmine is indicative of the Quincy University baseball team running out of gas.
"We have plenty left in the tank to win two," the senior shortstop said.
That's exactly what the Hawks have to do to repeat as the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament champions.
The Knights peppered QU starter Aaron Stone and the Hawks' beleaguered bullpen to the tune of 18 hits, but QU coach Josh Rabe opted not to burn any of the arms that helped the Hawks win their first two tournament games and position themselves for a better seed in the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional.
So faced with the prospect of needing to beat Bellarmine in a rematch at 12:30 p.m. Sunday at U.S. Baseball Park to get to the championship game and potentially win a title, Rabe left left-handed starter Aaron Stone pitch into the sixth and used freshman Andrew Grieshaber and junior Dalton Overstreet out of the bullpen.
"We burned out our bullpen the first two games and had to use some other guys," said Rabe, who will start sophomore right-hander Jimmy McDonald. "I thought (Grieshaber) did a great job keeping us in it until he ran out of gas. Then things just kind of got away from us."
Bellarmine, second in the latest Midwest Region rankings, has had to fight its way through the loser's bracket after getting upset by Maryville in the opening round. The Knights eliminated Maryville with a 6-1 victory Saturday morning and finished the day with 29 hits in 18 innings.
"We swung the bats," Bellarmine coach Larry Owens told the GLVC Sports Network. "We hit fastballs up in the strike zone early in the count. We're swinging the bats well."
The Knights (37-16) jumped on Stone in the first inning, as three consecutive hits with one out led to a 2-0 lead.
Quincy didn't flinch. With one out in the bottom of the inning, second baseman Cody Birdsong tripled to right field and scored on Troy Wehde's groundout. J.C. DeMuri and Michael Nielsen followed with back-to-back doubles to tie the game at 2.
"We know we can swing it and swing it with anybody," Birdsong said. "We're going to hit."
So even as Bellarmine started building a lead, there was never any true worry.
"We have confidence," Martinez said. "We'll keep battling."
However, a two-out double in the fourth plated a run to give the Knights the lead. In the fifth, a triple and a single hit back-to-back with two outs gave Bellarmine another run. In the sixth, the lead grew to 6-4 as the Hawks committed two errors and allowed a hit batter to come around to score.
"We allowed some pressure to build up on us defensively and on our pitching staff," Martinez said. "We have to shake that off."
Jeff Hightower tried to alleviate some of that pressure in the bottom of the sixth when he belted a two-run home run to center field with two outs. It was a good sign for the junior catcher, who hit four homers in his first five games of the season but had hit only one in the 34 games prior to Saturday night.
"This is not an easy park to hit one out of," Birdsong said. "That ball was smoked."
Three runs by the Knights in the top of the eighth put the game away.
Martinez went 2 for 5 with a double as the Hawks were limited to eight hits by the Knights' Phillips, who threw a complete game with 127 pitches over nine innings. He struck out seven and walked one and gave the Knights' bullpen a breather.
"If you're bullpen gets taxed, it comes into play," Owens said.
Both teams have plenty of arms to battle things out Sunday.
"It's do or die now," Martinez said.
Bellarmine 13, Quincy 4
Bellarmine 200 112 034--13 18 1
Quincy 200 002 000--4 8 3
Stone, Grieshaber (6), Overstreet (9), Saak (9) and Hightower; Phillips and Gambert. WP--Phillips (5-1). LP--Stone (5-2). 2B--Bellarmine 3 (Mulcahy, Wiley, Pendred), Quincy 3 (Martinez, DeMuri, Nielsen). 3B--Bellarmine 1 (Neuer), Quincy 1 (Birdsong). HR--Quincy 1 (Hightower).