CARBONDALE, Ill. – Belmont baseball drops a 3-2 decision to Southern Illinois in the final game of a five-game road stint.
Senior Kyle Conger (Brentwood, Tenn.) tried to get things going early in the ballgame, recording a double down the left line on the third pitch of the game. Conger was able to find advance just 90 feet from home plate on a sophomore Matt Cogen (Franklin, Tenn.) groundout, but he was stranded there as the next batter struck out.
The Salukis cracked the scoreboard early, putting a run on the board in the bottom of the fifth after putting a runner on base from a fielder's choice and a RBI single gave them a 1-0 lead.
After two scoreless innings, junior Justin Fowlkes (Collierville, Tenn.) made his sixth relief appearance of the season, taking over the hill in the bottom of the fourth. He was able to retire the Salukis in order for the first time in the matchup in just four pitches.
Junior Kyle Klotz (Fairview, Tenn.) also had an effective relief appearance for the Bruins. He took over in the bottom of the fifth after the Bruins gave up another run in the inning. He forced a fly out and recorded the first strikeout of the night for the Bruins and gave up an unearned run, getting out of the inning with a 3-0 deficit. Klotz retired SIU in order in the very next inning.
After two more scoreless innings, the Bruins finally got some offense going. After the first batter lined out, The Bruins strung together three-consecutive base hits. Cogen drove in Conger for the first run of the night to cut the lead 3-1. Senior Ben Kocher (Zionsville, Ind.) stepped up to the plate with runners on first and second and delivered a RBI single, scoring junior Devon Gardner (Maryville, Tenn.) to cut the lead to one. The Bruins had the go-ahead run on board, but the next batter flew out and the Bruins trailed 3-2 after the top of the eighth.
Freshman Kyle Brennan (Franklin, Tenn.) made his 20th appearance on the season, taking over the mound in the bottom of the eighth, trying to keep the score close. Brennan retired the first two with a fly out and a strikeout before walking the third batter he faced. Brennan effectively pitched around the runner, forcing a groundout to end the inning.
The Bruins took a one-run deficit into the ninth inning. Junior Hunter Holland (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) tried to get things going during the first at-bat sending a line drive to right field that looked like it would fall for extra bases, but the SIU right fielder made an incredible catch to rob Holland of the hit. The next two Bruins struck out swinging and the Bruins eighth inning rally falls short.
Despite out hitting the Salukis 7-5, the Bruins fell 3-2. Belmont left seven on base and committed one error.
The Bruins will be back in action this weekend as they take on conference foe Jacksonville State. First pitch is slated for 5:00 Friday, April 20.