EVANSTON, Ill. – Belmont Baseball picked up their second-consecutive win on Saturday in extra innings as they downed Northwestern 7-5.
After holding the Bruins scoreless in the first inning, the Wildcats wasted little time getting on the board, scoring a run in the bottom of the first after a base hit and a couple stolen bases to take an early 1-0 lead.
After the Bruins were retired in order, junior Casey Queener (Brentwood, Tenn.) returned the favor and sat down the Wildcats in order to keep them from extending their narrow lead in the second.
Belmont responded, putting together some offense in the top of the third. Junior Hunter Holland (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) got things going with a leadoff hit through the left side. Junior Zach Ehrhart (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) then laid down a successful sacrifice bunt to push Holland the tying run to scoring position. Senior Kyle Conger (Brentwood, Tenn.) stayed hot and ripped his second base hit through the left side to score Holland and tying the game 1-1. Junior Chas Hadden (Morristown, Tenn.) recorded the third hit of the inning to reach base before junior Devon Gardner (Maryville, Tenn.) delivered a two-out hit up the middle to score two runs and give the Bruins a 3-1 lead.
Northwestern responded in a big way in the bottom of the inning, scoring four runs on six hits to retake the lead 5-3.
The Bruins put together a threat in the top of the fourth after senior Austin Reynolds (Smyrna, Tenn.) rocketed a one-out double to the left center field fence and advanced to scoring position on a Holland ground out. Junior Ehrhart then worked a walk and stole a base to put the tying run in scoring position, but the Bruins' were unable to cash in as a ground out ended the inning.
Sophomore Michael Matter (Ft. Myers, Fla.) took over on the mound in the middle of the third and delivered for the Bruins, holding the Wildcats scoreless through five innings and two-thirds innings of relief work, allowing just three hits, and retiring them in order three times.
BU struggled to get much offense moving in the next three innings, recording just one hit when sophomore Matt Cogen (Franklin, Tenn.) doubled in the top of the fifth.
The Bruins' found their groove late in the game and made a ninth-inning rally to knot things up. Holland once again led the inning off with a single to left field and the tying run reached base with the help of a Northwestern error to give the Bruins hope. After a Conger ground out pushed the tying runs into scoring position, Hadden delivered a RBI single to left field to close the gap 5-4. Cogen then delivered a chopper to the pitcher that the Wildcats couldn't handle and scored Ehrhart from third to tie the game 5-5 before the next two Belmont batters popped and grounded out.
Junior Kyle Klotz (Fairview, Tenn.) entered the game in the bottom of the ninth to try and keep the Bruins in the game. Klotz came up big, striking out the first man he faced and forcing two groundouts to retire Northwestern in order to send the game into extra innings.
After the Bruins were retired in order in the top of the tenth, Northwestern put together a threat to end the game. After two walks and a hit-batsmen, the Wildcats had the winning run at third with two outs. Freshman Logan Bowen (Bowling Green, Ky.) was called from the bullpen to try and get BU out of a jam. He came up big with a three pitch at bat, throwing two strikes and throwing the batter out at first to keep the Bruins alive.
Belmont regained the lead in the top of the 11th. The Bruins put the go-ahead run aboard early with a leadoff single, but the runner was caught stealing to give Belmont one out and no runners aboard. Senior Kyle Conger (Brentwood, Tenn.) worked a walk to again put the go-ahead run aboard. After another out, Cogen came up clutch with his third home run in as many days to give the Bruins a 7-5 lead.
Bowen headed back to the mound to try and close the game out for the Bruins after picking up his first win of the season in similar fashion on Friday. Bowen showed great poise, forcing a line out, ground out, and striking out the final batter to pick up his second win in as many days and secure the 7-5 victory.