NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Coming off a hot weekend at the plate, the Belmont Baseball bats went cold against Memphis Monday afternoon as the Tigers shutout the Bruins, 6-0, at E.S. Rose Park.
In his fourth start of the year, sophomore right-hander Casey Queener (Brentwood, Tenn.) gave the Tigers trouble early on, striking out six of the first nine batters he faced. Queener went on to toss a career-best nine strikeouts with the first seven Belmont outs all coming via strikeout.
Memphis slowly found an answer to Queener, leading off the third with a couple of base knocks that led to a sacrifice fly to bring in the first run of the day and give the Tigers a 1-0 advantage. While the Tigers found an answer to BU's pitching, the Bruins couldn't seem to do the same as Memphis' starting hurler, Jonathan Bowlan, kept the Bruins hitless through the first five stanzas. The only runners that Belmont got on base in that span was a pair of free rides dealt by Bowlan.
After giving up a run in the third, Queener once again found his stride and sat down seven of the next eight batters he saw before head coach Dave Jarvis would call on redshirt-junior Ben Lovell (St. Louis, Mo.) to replace him in the sixth. Queener tossed 5.0 innings, only allowing one run and relinquishing five hits and a walk with a career day on the mound. Both Queener and Bowlan combined for 14 Ks in five innings of work before Memphis took a commanding lead.
Belmont struggled to get back on track, giving up four runs in the top of the sixth as the Tigers began to strike at the plate. They registered three hits and took advantage of a throwing error on Lovell to separate themselves from the Bruins who were still searching for their first hit. Memphis led, 5-0, after six.
Sophomore Hunter Holland (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) broke up Bowlan's no-hit bid to lead off the home half of the sixth with a single to left field, but the Bruins flew out to left and grounded into their second double play of the day to remain scoreless.
Memphis replaced Bowlan with Danny Denz on the hill in the seventh and the Bruins took full advantage of it, loading the bases and threatening for the first time. With two down and a temporary rain delay, redshirt-freshman Matt Cogen (Franklin, Tenn.) and junior Rafael Bournigal (Mulberry, Fla.) were issued a pair of walks while senior Nick Egli (Brentwood, Tenn.) squeezed in BU's second hit to load the bases. But Belmont couldn't convert, stranding runners on all three bases.
BU once again found a way to pressure the Tigers in the next stanza as a pair of singles from senior Brennan Washington (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and junior Kyle Conger (Brentwood, Tenn.) put Bruins on the corners, but they couldn't convert to hold the score, 6-0, in favor of Memphis.
Despite dazzling on the mound, Queener was issued the loss as Belmont failed to score a run and erase the one run he gave up. Bolwan was credited the win.
The Bruins will conclude their five-game home stand on Wednesday, April 5 against Alabama A&M. The game is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. at E.S. Rose Park.