MURRAY, Ky. – Belmont Baseball dropped a 9-5 decision to Murray State after a late surge falls short.
Senior Connor Etheridge (Springfield, Ill.) earned his 11thstart of the season on Saturday. Etheridge showed great command of location early, forcing two straight three up, three down innings and striking out three in the first two innings.
The Bruins seemed to settle in offensively in the third inning. After a quick out, freshman Jackson Campbell (Russellville, Ky.) worked a walk to give Belmont their first base runner of the matchup. Junior Hunter Holland (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) then delivered his first hit of the afternoon with a double to left field that put two Belmont runners in scoring position with only one out, but they were both stranded as the next two batters flew out.
The Racers responded with an offensive surge of their own. Murray state strung together a couple base hits to start the inning and both runners advanced on a wild pitch to put both base runners in scoring position. Belmont was able to force two quick outs, but the Racers rallied and collected on a RBI double and an error to take a 3-0 lead before the Bruins could get out of the inning.
Murray State's hot bats rolled over to the fourth inning. With two outs, Ryan Perkins smashed a home run over the right field fence that scored two more runs and increased the Racers' lead 5-0. They were able to take advantage of a leadoff walk in the bottom of the fifth inning to score another to extend the lead 6-0.
Belmont finally cracked the scoreboard in the top of the sixth inning. Senior Kyle Conger (Brentwood, Tenn.) leadoff with a double to left field to put himself in scoring position. Sophomore Matt Cogen (Franklin, Tenn.) then took advantage, recording his first RBI of the series, plating Conger to cut the Racers' lead 6-1.
Belmont found some momentum late in the game. After three-consecutive walks to start the eighth inning, Cogen came up with his second RBI single of the night with the bases loaded. Junior Chas Hadden (Morristown, Tenn.) really got things going with a double down the first base line that scored both runners in scoring position. Cogen then scored from third on the same play after a throwing error by the Racers' right fielder to cut the lead 7-5 all before the first out of the inning, but the next three batters were retired ending the Bruins' surge.
The Racers responded yet again scoring two runs, increasing their lead 9-5 after a walk, hit batsman, and a couple base hits.
Belmont was unable to rally in the ninth inning and ultimately fell 9-5.
Freshman Stone Selby (Hohenwald, Tenn.) was the first relief pitcher used for the Bruins. He came in for two complete innings on the mound. He allowed just one run, which was unearned, and struck out two in his outing.
The final game of the series is slated for Sunday, April 29thwith a first pitch at 1:00 p.m. CT.