Western Kentucky Upends Baseball On Tuesday
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Belmont baseball team (7-10, 3-3) dropped an 11-6 decision to Western Kentucky (10-6, 0-0) at Shelby Park on Tuesday evening. Seniors Derek Hamblen (Plano, Texas) and Nate Woods (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) each recorded two hits in the contest.
The Bruins got off to a rough start, allowing five runs in the first inning. Starting pitcher Garrett Fanchier (Lebanon, Tenn.) and freshman Blake Harvey (Murfreesobo, Tenn.), who relieved Fanchier in the fifth inning, allowed only three runs between the first and final innings of the game.
Belmont managed to score two runs in the bottom half of the first, and then matched the Hilltoppers with one run in each of the third, fourth and sixth innings. Junior Zac Mitchell (Cordova, Tenn.) led off the first inning with a single through the right side of the infield, and eventually scored the first run of the game on a balk by the WKU pitcher. After reaching on a hit by pitch, Hamblen scored the second run of the inning as sophomore Judah Akers (Cookeville, Tenn.) was walked with the bases loaded.
"It was a frustrating evening in a lot of different ways," Head Coach David Jarvis said. "We weren't able to come up with some key hits early in the ball game when we needed to. We didn't show very good judgment in our mental approach during the second inning, after we had made some progress offensively in the first. We came out and let the guy off the hook with a quick one, two, three inning."
After getting out in three consecutive batters in the second inning, Belmont made it 6-3 in the third when Akers drove in senior Tim Egerton (Smyrna, Tenn.) with a double to right field. Junior Dylan Craig (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) then recorded the next Bruin RBI, driving in sophomore Jared Breen (Marietta, Ga.) with a single to right center field.
It was Hamblen and Woods who accounted for BU's run in the sixth inning that made it 8-5. Hamblen doubled down the left field line and then scored after Woods drove him in with his single through the left side of the infield. In the bottom of the ninth inning, after Harvey gave up three runs on three straight wild pitches in the top half of the inning, the Bruins picked up one more run to make the final score 11-6.
The Hilltoppers finished the game with 11 runs on 20 hits with no errors, while Belmont tallied six runs on 10 hits and three errors. WKU starter GJ Strauss earned the win after receiving five early runs of support from his offensive teammates. Fanchier was credited with the loss, falling to 1-2 on the season.
"To their credit, they swung the bat well all day long and they consistently forced us into a defensive press," Jarvis said. "We had to wiggle out of a lot of tough situations, and were unable to in some instances. They put up 20 hits so you have to give credit where credit is due. We just weren't able to put together enough offensively to compete with that."
Belmont will next host Purdue in more non-conference action on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. The game will be broadcast on the Bruin Sports Network available via BelmontBruins.com with play-by-play from Rich Tiner.