NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont Baseball dropped a 13-10 decision as a ninth inning rally came up just short Friday afternoon.
Senior Tyler Vaughn (Jonesboro, Ill.) started on the bump for the Bruins. Vaughn established himself early, striking out the first two batters he faced and forcing a ground out for a quick three up, three down inning.
Belmont recorded the first hit for either team after junior Devon Gardner (Maryville, Tenn.) led off the second inning with an infield single. Senior Cully Day (Mahomet, Ill.) then worked a walk to push Gardner to scoring position with no outs, but both runners were stranded to keep things scoreless.
After two scoreless innings, The Golden Eagles struck first with a five-run inning in the top of the third to take an early 5-0 lead.
Belmont responded in the bottom of the third with a run of their own. Senior Kyle Conger (Brentwood, Tenn.) got things going with a one-out triple to right field to get things going for the Bruins. Junior Chas Hadden (Morristown, Tenn.) delivered a sacrifice fly to plate the first run of the afternoon for the Bruins. Sophomore Matt Cogen (Franklin, Tenn.) smashed a ball over the right field fence at the very next at-bat to score the second run of the night. Belmont put another base runner on with the help of a Tennessee Tech error, but he was stranded and the Bruins cut the lead 5-2.
Tennessee Tech put their sixth run on the board in the top of the fifth with a leadoff home run to extend the lead 6-2, but the next three batters were retired to keep the damage limited.
The Bruins once again answered by putting together some offense of their own. Junior Hunter Holland (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) started the bottom of the sixth with a solo shot over the right field fence cutting the lead 6-3. Hadden was able to work his 46th walk of the season to put a runner on base with just one out. Cogen laid down a base hit followed by a RBI single by Gardner to cut the lead even further. The Golden Eagles ended the Belmont scoring hopes by striking out the next two batters, but not before the lead had dwindled to 6-4.
After a scoreless sixth inning, Tennessee Tech opened up their lead 10-4 after three hits and a Belmont error in the seventh inning before tacking on three more runs in the top of the eighth to take a 13-4 lead.
After three scoreless innings for the Bruins, they made a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning to try and stay alive. After a leadoff walk by Conger and another by Hadden, Cogen hit his second home run of the night with a three-run bomb over the right field fence to cut the lead 13-7. The rally continued as Gardner got himself in scoring position with a double and Day worked another walk. Senior Ben Kocher (Zionsville, Ind.) came up huge with the ninth home run of the night between the teams with another three-run shot to cut the lead 13-10, still with no outs. Holland would get himself in scoring position with a double, but the next three outs were recorded and the ninth inning rally came up just short.
Belmont and Tennessee Tech will meet for game two of the series on Saturday. First pitch is slated for 2:00 p.m. CT.