NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont baseball dropped the series opener to Furman in a closely contested battle Thursday evening at E.S. Rose Park. The Bruins got out in front early, but were hindered by a big frame from the Paladins, falling 6-5.
Sophomore Hunter Holland (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) and redshirt-freshman Matt Cogen (Franklin, Tenn.) have possessed two of Belmont's hottest bats in recent contests and continued to dominate at the plate in game one, producing four hits and three runs for the Bruins. Collectively, the duo has recorded four consecutive multi-hit outings apiece and been a backbone to the Bruins offense.
In his first at bat of his final home series senior Clay Payne (Powell, Tenn.) let one soar over the left field fence in the home half of the third to break up the standstill. The game remained scoreless until Payne ripped his sixth long ball of the season to get the Bruins bats going and take a 1-0 lead.
The squad continued to ride the momentum in the fourth, using a free ride and extra base knock to set up sophomore Holland to drive in two more runs on a single through the left side. The play was made possible after redshirt-freshman Cogen ripped a double to the right corner, increasing his hitting streak to eight consecutive games.
On the mound, starting hurler Tyler Vaughn (Jonesboro, Ill.) was extremely effective on the hill for the five innings he logged. The junior gave up six hits, but never allowed a runner to make a trip around the bases to keep the Paladins scoreless through the first five stanzas. Furman found a way to load the bases in the second, putting the righty in a jam with only one down before he induced a double play to get Belmont out of the frame unscathed.
Furman got themselves on the board in a big way during the sixth, producing five runs on three hits and a pair of walks issued by a pair of BU relievers. The Paladins used a couple of sacrifice bunts to plate the first two runs before Jabari Richards sent a three-run homer to left field and gave the squad a 5-3 advantage.
Senior Tyler Walsh (Evansville, Ind.) brought the Bruins within one courtesy of a throwing error from Furman's pitch that allowed Holland to both get on base and advance to second. From then Walsh sent a laser through the left side to score Holland and keep Belmont in the game, 5-4. Belmont knotted it all up after sophomore Chas Hadden (Morristown, Tenn.) collected a base shot in his first plate appearance after replacing junior Alex Ward (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) at first, but the Paladins secured the victory on a double to centerfield from Brandon Elmy that brought in the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth.
Belmont and Furman face off for game two on Friday, May 19 at E.S. Rose Park. The game is scheduled to start at 5 p.m.