NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont Baseball dropped an 8-4 decision to Evansville on their final home game of the season.
Evansville wasted little time getting on the board, scoring one run on two hits in the top of the first inning to take a 1-0 lead.
Junior Chas Hadden (Morristown, Tenn.) recorded the first hit of the night for the Bruins in the bottom of the first with a one out single. Despite the early base runner, Belmont was unable to get on the board.
Neither team could get much going in the second inning, but the Purple Aces tacked on another in the top of the third and would take a 2-0 lead after three complete innings.
Evansville took control of things in the top of the fourth, scoring four runs to take a 6-0 lead. The Purple Aces recorded six hits in the inning and scored three runs after two outs.
Belmont was finally able to crack the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth. Hadden reached base once again as he was hit by the very first pitch of the inning. After Hadden advanced to scoring position on a wild pitch, junior Devon Gardner (Maryville, Tenn.) delivered a RBI double to shallow right field, cutting the Evansville lead 6-1 after four innings.
The Purple aces responded yet again, scoring a run for the third-consecutive inning in the top of the fifth to extend their lead 7-1.
The Bruins scored again in the bottom of the fifth. Senior Ben Kocher (Zionsville, Ind.) and junior Hunter Holland (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) worked consecutive walks to lead off the inning. They would complete a successful double steal to put two runners in scoring position. Kocher would then take advantage of a wild pitch to score the second run for the Bruins. With no outs and a runner 90-feet from home plate, the Bruins next three batters were retired, and the score would be 7-2 after five innings of work.
After the Bruins held the Purple Aces off the board in the top of the sixth, the Bruins tightened things up in the bottom of the inning. After a leadoff walk by sophomore Matt Cogen (Brentwood, Tenn.), a fielder's choice by Gardner and a single up the middle from senior Austin Reynolds (Smyrna, Tenn.) put runners on first and second. Kocher would be hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs. Hunter Holland and freshman Jordan Henshaw (New Market, Ala.) worked back-to-back bases loaded walks to tighten the score 7-4 before the third out.
Evansville led off the seventh inning with a single that would eventually score after two additional base hits to give the Purple Aces an 8-4 lead. Evansville would load the bases with two outs, and the Bruins' called on junior Kyle Klotz (Fairview, Tenn.) from the bullpen to try and close out the inning. Klotz did his job and retired the final out swinging to limit the damage to one run.
After a scoreless eighth, freshman Logan Bowen (Bowling Green, Ky.) was called upon to throw the ninth inning for the Bruins. Bowen did a beautiful job, forcing the only three up, three down inning of the night for Belmont to keep the Bruins within striking distance.
The Bruins needed four runs to stay in their final home game of the season. After one quick out, a walk from Cogen, double for Gardner, and an Evansville error that allowed Reynolds to reach base, the Bruins' had the bases loaded and the tying run at the plate. The Purple Aces turned a double play to dash the Bruins' hopes and won the game 8-4.
Belmont travels to Northwestern for a three-game non-conference series. First pitch of the series is slated for 3:30 p.m. CT on Thursday, May 17th.