EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Belmont Baseball dropped a 9-1 decision to Evansville Wednesday night.
After the Bruins were retired in order in the first inning, BU looked to sophomore Michael Matter (Ft. Myers, Fla.), who made his fourth start of the season, to make a stand defensively. The Purple Aces put together an early threat, loading the bases with just one out, but Matter forced a double play to get out of the inning unscathed.
Belmont struggled to get anything going offensively, recording just one hit in the first three innings, but kept Evansville scoreless through two innings.
The Purple Aces blew things open in the bottom of the third inning. Evansville took advantage of a leadoff double and four base hits to take a 4-0 lead. The very next inning, the Purple Aces tacked on three more runs on four hits to take a 7-0 lead.
Junior Kyle Klotz (Fairview, Tenn.) forced the first three up, three down inning in the bottom of the fifth. Klotz retired the first two batters swinging and junior Zach Ehrhart (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) put an exclamation mark on the end of the inning with an impressive jumping catch to rob the Purple Aces of another base hit.
After a scoreless fifth inning, the Bruins finally cracked the scoreboard in the top of the sixth. Leadoff hitter senior Kyle Conger (Brentwood, Tenn.) ended the shutout with a homerun well over the left field fence to cut the lead 7-1.
After keeping Evansville off the board in the bottom of the sixth, the Bruins tried to get things going again in the seventh. Leadoff man, unior Devon Gardner (Maryville, Tenn.), recorded his second hit of the night, when he showed his speed and beat out the throw from shortstop to first for an infield hit. Gardner advanced to scoring position on a balk and stole third to put himself just 90 feet from home plate, but the next batter struck out, ending the Bruins' chances.
Evansville increased their lead 9-1 in the bottom of the seventh after a leadoff triple, hit batsman, and wild pitch allow two to score. Freshman Chandler Schultz (Nashville, Tenn.) took over the mound with two out and a runner in scoring position, but he stopped the bleeding as he forced a strikeout for the final out of the inning.
Conger tried to get things going in the top of the eighth with his second-consecutive extra base hit. His one-out double put one in scoring position for BU. Conger advanced to third on a fly ball and junior Chas Hadden (Morristown, Tenn.) worked his 45thwalk of the season to put runners on the corners, but they were the sixth and seventh Bruins left on base as a strikeout ended the Bruins' chances.
Schultz returned to the hill for the bottom of the eighth inning where he retired the Purple Aces in order, striking out the side for the second-consecutive inning.
The Bruins were unable to rally in the top of the ninth as they were retired in order.
The Bruins return home after a five-game road stint Friday, May 4thfor a conference series against Tennessee Tech. First pitch is slated for 6:00 p.m. CT.