NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont opened Ohio Valley Conference Play with a 15-5 victory over Eastern Kentucky behind an explosive fourth inning.
Senior Tyler Vaughn (Jonesboro, Ill.) started on the mound for the Bruins and started off the night sitting down the first batter he faced. He would retire the Colonels in order in three of the six innings he pitched. Vaughn struck out eight in his six innings of work, only allowing five hits and one run while walking two.
To go along with a solid defensive effort, the Bruins put together a solid effort on the offensive end. The Bruins had 15 runs on 15 hits.
Belmont got things going in the bottom of the second. After junior Chas Hadden (Morristown, Tenn.) led off with a base on balls, Senior Ben Kocher (Zionsville, Ind.) recorded BU's first hit of the night with a single to right field. With runners on first and third, senior Austin Reynolds (Smyrna, Tenn.) stepped up to the plate and send a RBI single to center field to send Hadden home to give Belmont the early edge. Kocher found his way around the bases for another run after a walk put him in scoring position.
Belmont continued to put the pressure on the Colonels in the bottom of the third. Senior Cully Day (Mahomet, Ill.) hit a solo shot for a team-high third home run this season.
The Bruins' bats exploded in the fourth inning to put the game out of reach for the Colonels. Kocher stepped to the plate first and hit a single to center field. After five consecutive base hits and a walk, Belmont had scored four runs with no outs. Junior Hunter Holland (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) and sophomore Matt Cogen (Franklin, Tenn.) laid down a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly to push in two more for the Bruins. After taking advantage and scoring on a pass ball, BU recorded another couple base hits and a walk before senior Kyle Conger (Brentwood, Tenn.) took his turn at-bat. Conger blasted one beyond the fence for a three-run homer to round out the scoring. Belmont took a 13-0 advantage after four innings.
The Colonels earned one back in the top of the sixth after a triple and a single to start the inning, but Belmont made three good defensive plays to keep the EKU threat to a minimum.
Reynolds got in on the long ball action in the bottom of the fourth, soaring one well over the left field fence for a solo shot. Belmont led 15-1 after six.
After a scoreless seventh, Eastern Kentucky tried to make things interesting. After the Colonel's leadoff batter was hit by a pitch, the next batter doubled to center field. Belmont would walk another and EKU would load the bases with one out. EKU sent pinch hitter Miles Jones to the plate to try and take advantage. He would send one out of the park for a grand slam to narrow the Belmont lead by four. Belmont responded with two quick outs to get out of the inning still holding a comfortable lead.
Cogen added one more run in the bottom of the eighth with the help of an RBI single from Kocher to round out the BU scoring. Belmont ultimately won the matchup 15-5.
Sophomore Brandon Liskey (Guilin, Ga.) pitched an inning of relief for the bruins striking out two of the three batters he faced. Freshman Edgar Parker (Jamestown, Tenn.) and sophomore Michael Matter (Ft. Myers, Fla.) also saw time on the mound for the Bruins.
Belmont and Eastern Kentucky will meet again for game two of the weekend series tomorrow afternoon at E.S. Rose Park. First pitch is set for 2:00 p.m.