NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont baseball posted a strong eight frames before falling victim to a late inning rally from Furman in game two Friday evening at E.S. Rose Park, dropping a 6-0 decision to the Paladins.
Senior Dom Veltri (Clarksville, Tenn.) was locked in for his first start on the mound of the year, tossing six scoreless frames and only giving up five hits in that span. He tossed a career-best seven strikeouts, including fanning a strand of four consecutive Paladins. The righty's six innings is the longest appearance on the hill during his four-year career as a Bruin.
Belmont managed to load the bases in the bottom of the first with a pair of hits and a free base to start the game before a double play for the Paladins would initiate what would become a pitchers duel for the next seven stanzas. Junior Ben Kocher (Zionsville, Ind.) and sophomore Chas Hadden (Morristown, Tenn.) got things going with a couple of base shots to left field in efforts to spark BU's offense, but Furman starting hurler Grant Schuermann settled in quieted the Bruins bats.
Veltri finished his day by retiring 13 of the final 15 Paladins he saw with six of those coming via strikeout. The veteran was then replaced by rookie Michael Matter (Ft. Myers, Fla.) who allowed Furman to load the bases for the first time of the day, but got out of the jam after inducing the fourth double play of the game to get out of the inning unscathed and keep the contest scoreless through seven.
Having struggled to get multiple runners on base since the first frame, Belmont pieced together a pair of base shots in the seventh to put pressure on the Paladins. Sophomore Hunter Holland (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) extended his hitting streak to five games while Kocher tallied his third hit – accounting for half of the Bruins six shots – to put runners on first and second until another double play ended the inning.
Furman capitalized on a pair of early walks dealt by senior reliever Zach Hodgkiss (Eads, Tenn.) to break up the standstill in the top of the ninth, eventually plating six runs on a trio of singles and a three-run long ball to take the series with a 6-0 victory.
Belmont will conclude its 2017 regular season campaign on Saturday, May 20 for game three against Furman. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m. at E.S. Rose Park.