EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – The Bruins fell to 7-4 in OVC play after dropping a tightly contested 5-4 decision to SIUE.
Junior Devon Gardner (Maryville, Tenn.) got things going sending a triple to deep center field to put Belmont in scoring position early. Sophomore Matt Cogen (Brentwood, Tenn.) stepped up to the plate with one out and a runner on third and grounded out to the shortstop, but it was good enough to plate Gardner to take the early 1-0 lead.
The Bruins wasted no time increasing their lead in the top of the second. Senior Ben Kocher (Zionsville, Ind.) worked a leadoff walk and Austin Reynolds (Smyrna, Tenn.) followed that with a base hit to put runners on first and third with no outs. After two quick outs, freshman Jordan Henshaw (New Market, Ala.) delivered a RBI single that scored two more for the Bruins.
SIUE tightened things up in the bottom of the third. The Cougars scored two runs after recording two base hits and drawing two walks to come within a run.
Freshman Jackson Campbell (Russellville, Ky.) rocketed his fourth bomb of the season in the bottom of the fourth. His solo shot increased the Bruins lead 4-2.
SIUE tied things up 4-4 in the bottom of the fifth after two doubles and a single, the Cougars plated two more in the inning. Junior Kyle Klotz (Fairview, Tenn.) came in to relieve senior Connor Etheridge (Springfield, Ill.). With two outs and a runner on first, Klotz rung one up to get out of the inning.
The Cougars threatened to take the lead in the bottom of the sixth. After one was hit by a pitch, a sacrifice bunt and a walk put runners on first and second. The base runners advanced to second and third on a wild pitch but Klotz sat down the next two batters to keep SIUE from scoring.
Belmont made a big threat in the top of the seventh loading the bases after Henshaw singled and Gardner and Hadden drew walks. Senior Ben Kocher (Zionsville, Ind.) stepped to the plate with the bases full of Bruins but was retired swinging to keep things knotted up 4-4.
Freshman Logan Bowen (Bowling Green, Ky.) took over on the mound for the Bruins in the bottom of the seventh. After hitting the first batter, Bowen struck one out and was able to keep the Cougars off the board to keep things scoreless.
After two and a half scoreless innings, the Cougars took their first lead of the series in the bottom of the eighth. With two outs and a runner on first, the Cougars laid down a double that drove in their fifth run of the night.
Senior Kyle Conger (Brentwood, Tenn.) got himself in scoring position after reaching first on an error and advancing to second on a wild pitch in the top of the ninth. With the tying run on base and two outs, Cogen grounded out to end the game. Belmont ultimately fell 5-4.
The series will be decided tomorrow, March 31 at Simmons Complex. First pitch is slated for 1:00 p.m.