NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont baseball nearly pulled off the comeback of a lifetime, trailing by nine runs, 13-4, with two outs in the sixth inning against national powerhouse Vanderbilt. The Bruins slowly chipped away and manufactured seven runs to pull within two, but were unable to overcome the Commodore offense, falling 17-11, Wednesday evening inside First Tennessee Park.
Vanderbilt (14-8) appeared to have blown the game wide open in the fourth stanza by tacking on seven runs to take an 8-3 advantage on the Bruins (8-11) in the annual crosstown matchup. The Commodores continued to pile on the runs in their next plate appearances in the fifth, adding an additional four scores to the board, 12-3.
Facing the nine-run deficit – thanks to another run scored in the sixth by Vanderbilt - Belmont valiantly chipped away at the Commodore lead with a seven-run inning of its own, somehow climbing back within two, 13-11, with two outs on the board.
In the midst of the furious rally, Belmont saw three players register two or more hits, highlighted by Kyle Conger's (Brentwood, Tenn.) 3-for-6 effort with a double, triple and two RBI. Nick Egli (Brentwood, Tenn.) and Tyler Walsh (Evansville, Ind.) each posted two-hit efforts on the night.
The rally began with a Hunter Holland (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) walk, while Matt Cogen (Franklin, Tenn.) drilled a ball to centerfield. Holland later came around to score the first of the hebdomad after a wild pitch. Egli then registered an RBI, allowing Cogen to touch home.
Walsh swung the momentum in the Bruins' favor with a three-run double, 13-9, Chas Hadden (Morristown, Tenn.) and Rafael Bournigal (Mulberry, Fla.). Aided by a flurry Vanderbilt blunders, including a hit by pitch, walk and two errors, the Bruins were back in business looking at a two-run hole, 13-11.
Prior to the large deficit, Belmont led 3-1 through three frames before Vanderbilt's offense began to click in the middle innings to connect on Belmont's mid-week pitching. Just like it did early in the game, Vanderbilt showed its resiliency and tight-game moxie after the Belmont run and plated an additional four runs, thwarting any remaining hopes of a Belmont comeback, 17-11.
Up Next: The Bruins will travel to UT Martin to continue their conference slate, March 24-26. The first game is slated for 6:00 p.m. on Friday, March 24.