OXFORD, Ala. – Facing elimination on three different occasions didn't deter No. 3 Belmont baseball as it battled its way to the squad's first-ever appearance in the OVC Championship game Saturday evening at Choccolocco Park, where the Bruins ultimately fell to No. 1 Tennessee Tech, 16-4.
Five games into the tournament and playing its second of the day proved to wear on BU (31-29) as they struggled to produce much of an offense after registering a season-best mark in hits in the contest they played earlier in the day. Redshirt-freshman Matt Cogen (Franklin, Tenn.) continued to produce hits as he'd done all season long, going 2-for-3 at the plate and the lone Bruin to register multiple hits in the championship game for Belmont.
Just as they've done all tournament, the Bruins refused to succumb to pressure as senior Nick Egli (Brentwood, Tenn.) blasted a two-out homer over the left field wall in the opening frame to put BU up early, 1-0. Tennessee Tech (40-19) turned around and matched Belmont's long ball with one of their own in the second from Chase Chambers to knot it up.
The Golden Eagles continued to use the long ball to put up runs as Ryan Flick sent one to right center for three runs, giving Tech an advantage it'd never relinquish. They would go on to plate six more runs in the fourth to go up, 10-1.
Junior Tyler Vaughn (Jonesboro, Ill.) earned his second start of the tournament and put forth a valiant effort with just a little over a day's rest. The righty went eight innings against Austin Peay on Wednesday and provided three and a third innings against Tech, striking out a batter while giving up eight hits and seven runs before Belmont would start to dig into its bullpen. The Bruins would end up using four relief pitchers throughout the contest.
Unwilling to go down without a fight, senior Clay Payne took a pitch for a ride over the left field fence in the fifth to pack on a pair of runs for Belmont. A leadoff walk issued to sophomore Chas Hadden (Morristown, Tenn.) put a run on for Payne to deliver the two-out bomb that brought BU within seven, 10-3.
Junior Ben Kocher (Zionsville, Ind.) ripped a two-bagger to right center and worked his way home on a Tennessee Tech wild pitch and passed ball to score BU's fourth run. However, the Golden Eagles didn't show any sign of letting up as they added a few more insurance runs to make it 16-4.