CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Coming off an explosive first game at the plate, Belmont baseball only collected five hits in its second outing against Austin Peay dropping a 6-2 decision Saturday afternoon at Raymond C. Hand Park.
The Bruins (14-15, 9-5) mustered a pair of runs while the Governors (14-16, 6-8) tallied 11 hits for six runs to take command of the game.
Senior Clay Payne (Powell, Tenn.) lifted one over the left field fence to give the Bruins their only lead of the game, 1-0, in the third with a leadoff dinger. Austin Peay managed to collect three consecutive base hits in the home half to knot the game up and take over. Imani Willis delivered the first single to right field before stealing second and reaching third on a wild pitch to put pressure on BU's starter Dylan King (Murfreesboro, Tenn.). Garrett Giovanelli drove in the tying run on the next play as the Govs capitalized on the Bruin miscue.
The Bruins continued to struggle to get their bats going, only collecting three hits through the first five frames. After Payne's dinger, senior outfielder Tyler Walsh (Evansville, Ind.) was the lone Bruin to register a hit in the next three frames. The veteran ripped a two-bagger to left field and advanced to third on a wild pitch from Austin Peay's reliever, Zach Neff. Walsh sparked a two-out rally as junior Alex Ward (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) cut BU's deficit in half, 4-2, with a RBI single to centerfield before APSU could register the final out.
Imani continued to wreak havoc on the Belmont pitching staff, recording his third hit and second RBI to push Austin Peay's advantage to 5-2 in the home half of the sixth. A leadoff single and sacrifice bunt paid off for the Governors, putting a runner in scoring position for Imani to keep his perfect day at the plate intact.
APSU once again distanced themselves after an error from shortstop Kyle Conger (Brentwood, Tenn.) allowed the first Governor batter to reach. Dre Gleason launched a sacrifice fly to the left field warning track to make it 6-2.
Belmont combined for just two hits in its final 22 plate appearances with the Governors allowing four Bruins to reach at their cost in that span. Payne kept APSU from doing any more damage to the score, catching his league-best 10th runner attempting to steal, ending the eighth. But BU failed to plate any runs in its final chance at the plate to drop game two and make the series even.
The Bruins and Governors return to Raymond C. Hand Park on Sunday, April 9 for the series finale. The game is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.