EVANSTON, Ill. – Belmont Baseball defeated the Northwestern Wildcats 6-5 in extra innings on Friday afternoon.
The Bruins fell behind early after allowing a run each in the bottom of the first and second innings.
After two complete innings, freshman Kyle Brennan (Franklin, Tenn.) took over the mound for the Bruins and forced two-consecutive three-up three down innings to keep the Bruins' in striking distance.
After struggling to get on the board, senior Kyle Conger (Brentwood, Tenn.) gave the Bruins their first lead of the series with a three-run homer over the right field fence. The Bruins increased their lead when senior Matt Cogen (Franklin, Tenn.) smoked a ball over the right field fence for a two-out solo home run, giving the Bruins a 4-2 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth.
Northwestern wasted little time knotting things back up after scoring two runs in the bottom of the fifth to make it a 4-4 ball game.
After the Bruins were retired in order in the top of the sixth, Brennan continued his impressive performance on the mound, sitting Northwestern down in order in the bottom of the inning to keep things tied.
After a scoreless seventh, the Bruins retook the lead in the top of the eighth. Sophomore Matt Cogen (Franklin, Tenn.) leadoff with a single through the right side and stole a base to put the go-ahead run in scoring position. Senior Ben Kocher (Zionsville, Ind.) then delivered a one-out, infield hit to push Cogen just 90 feet from home plate. On the next play, Cogen was tagged out at home plate, but the Bruins had runners on first and second with two outs. Senior Austin Reynolds (Smyrna, Tenn.) delivered a clutch single to right field to load the bases. Junior Hunter Holland (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) worked a bases loaded walk to take a 5-4 lead.
Freshman Logan Bowen (Bowling Green, Ky.) entered the game in the bottom of the eighth to try and preserve the narrow Belmont lead. After the first batter reached base after being hit by a pitch, Bowen came up with three-consecutive strikeouts to keep the Wildcats off the board.
The Bruins would try to add to their lead in the top of the ninth but were retired in order and would take a narrow lead into the bottom of the ninth.
After one quick out, the Wildcats strung together consecutive base-hits and took advantage of a Belmont error to tie things up 5-5 with only one out. Bowen kept the Bruins alive, forcing two ground balls to send the game into extra innings.
After a quick out, Kocher recorded his second hit of the ninth with a single up the middle to put the go-ahead run aboard. Senior Cully Day (Mahomet, Ill.) followed him up with a huge RBI double to right field to plate Kocher and give the Bruins a 6-5 lead. After Reynolds worked a walk, and Holland delivered a single through the left side, BU threatened to extend their lead with the bases loaded and just one out. They weren't able to plate any more runs as the next two batters struck out.
With another narrow lead, junior Kyle Klotz (Fairview, Tenn.) entered the game to try and record his first save of the season. After a leadoff hit and a hit-batsmen, the Wildcats had the tying run in scoring position with one out, Klotz forced a pop up and a fly out to secure the 6-5 victory.
The series will conclude Saturday, May 19thwith a 12:00 p.m. CT first pitch.