NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Sophomore hurler Dylan King (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) was dialed in Saturday afternoon as Belmont baseball took on Northwestern in the second game of the Mule Mix Classic at E.S. Rose Park. The Bruins rolled past the Wildcats, 6-1, with help from a career-best 11 strikeouts tossed by King.
For the second consecutive day, senior outfielder Brennan Washington (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) collected a pair of RBIs to give BU (2-4) the advantage. After back-to-back hits to left field, Washington followed suit by blasting a two-run a long ball over the left field fence in his first at-bat of the game to put the Bruins up, 2-0, in the opening frame.
With a lead right off the bat, King was able to relax on the mound and retire seven consecutive Wildcats. He sat down nine of the first 10 batters that he faced, including an impeccable second stanza where struck out the side.
While King got the job done on the mound, the Bruins did their part at the plate with the help of a sloppy fourth inning from Northwestern. Eight different Bruins appeared at the plate, but only mustered a couple of hits. However, a pair of wild pitches, a passed ball and a Wildcat error helped Belmont post four runs. Redshirt-freshman Matt Cogen (Franklin, Tenn.) connected on his second hit of the day, continuing to wear out left field with an RBI base knock painting the line. Cogen went on to register another hit later on in the day, going 3-for-5 at the plate and posting his fourth multi-hit game of the year – the only Bruin to record more than one of such so far this season. Belmont led Northwestern, 6-0, after the four-run inning.
NU registered its first hits of the day with two batters delivering singles to start out the top half of the fourth. With Wildcats now threatening for the first time of the day, King and Belmont's defense settled in and triggered the next three outs. King boasted seven Ks in just four innings of work thus far. Previously striking out eight in his season debut against Kent State exactly a week ago, the righty topped his career-best performance against the Golden Flashes by striking out 11 batters through six frames on the day.
Northwestern's Matt Gannon was called on to relieve the final four innings after starter Hank Christie and reliever Richard Fordon forced the Wildcats into a six-run hole. Gannan was able to quiet Belmont's offense for the remainder of the game, only relinquishing four hits during his stay on the hill. NU came close to plating a couple of runs after a Wildcat launched a ball to the right field warning track with two down and runners on second and third, but Washington made the crucial play to keep the team scoreless after seven.
The Wildcats were able to find home plate in the top of the eighth on a sacrifice flyout to left field, cutting their deficit to 6-1 with Washington now on the mound – but that's the only answer they had as Washington got the next batter swinging.
Belmont combined for 10 hits with seven Bruins each collecting one and Cogen taking the remaining three. King (1-1) earned his first win of the year while NU's starter Hank Christie wore the loss.
BU will host Bowling Green for the final game of the Mule Mix Classic on Sunday, Feb. 26 at E.S. Rose Park. First pitch scheduled for 1 p.m.