NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont Baseball completed a series sweep Sunday afternoon with a 3-2 victory over the Eastern Kentucky Colonels to open up Ohio Valley Conference play.
Belmont improved to 3-0 in the conference while EKU dropped to 0-3.
Belmont, building off momentum from a two-game winning streak, continued to hit well and find ways to score on Sunday.
Belmont's defense, led by junior Casey Queener (Brentwood, Tenn.) on the mound, got off to a hot start, retiring the Colonels in order to set the tone of the ballgame.
Queener pitched seven innings, striking out six and only walking two.
Junior Devon Gardner (Maryville, Tenn.) registered the Bruins' first hit of the night in the bottom of the first with a base hit to left field. With some heads-up base running, Gardner stole second to put himself in scoring position. Junior Chas Hadden (Morristown, Tenn.) stepped up to the plate and recorded another single to right field that drove Gardner in to give Belmont an early 1-0 lead. Senior Ben Kocher (Zionsville, Ind.) got to second base on another hit, but he and Hadden were stranded to end the inning.
EKU responded early in the second. Their first batter sent a single through the middle of the Belmont defense to give the Colonels' their first base runner of the night. After a sacrifice bunt and a ground out, Eastern Kentucky earned the run back and knotted things at 1-1.
The Bruins kept their composure going into the bottom of the second. Senior Kyle Conger (Brentwood, Tenn.) put together a nice at-bat and reached first base on a walk to kick-off the inning. After two quick outs, senior Cully Day (Mahomet, Ill.) recorded his first hit of the night, driving Conger home to regain the lead 2-1.
After a few scoreless innings, Belmont scored their final run in the bottom of the sixth. Kocher was able to take advantage of a base on balls and a couple wild pitches to score the Bruins' third run of the night to increase the Belmont lead 3-1.
EKU made things interesting in the top of the fourth with a solo shot over the left field fence to tighten things back up. BU responded well with two quick outs to get out of the inning.
Freshman Kyle Brennan (Franklin, Tenn.) took over on the hill to start the eighth inning, trying to preserve the Belmont lead. After allowing a leadoff single, the Bruins' defense made three defensive plays that kept the Colonels' from scoring.
Freshman Logan Bowen (Bowling Green, Ky.) entered the game to try to put things away in the top of the ninth. He retired Eastern Kentucky in order, including a game ending strikeout, to record his second save in as many days and secure the series sweep.
Despite being outhit by the Colonels; the Bruins found a way to come away with the 3-2 victory.
Belmont returns to action Tuesday, March 13 to take on cross-town rival Lipscomb. First pitch for the Battle of the Boulevard is set for 4:00 p.m. at E.S. Rose Park.