BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Belmont University Baseball dropped a heartbreaking 8-7 decision on the road against Western Kentucky University Tuesday after a ninth inning rally.
Despite a slow defensive start, the Bruins stepped up defensively in the bottom of the third. Senior pitcher Kyle Klotz (Fairview, Tenn.) got the starting nod for the first time in his storied Belmont career. Klotz dug in and worked around a base hit and a walk to keep Western Kentucky off the board in the first.
In the top of the second, junior Hagan Severance (Brentwood, Tenn.) got Belmont's offense started. His leadoff solo home run over the left field fence gave Belmont a 1-0 lead.
After Klotz kept the Hilltoppers off the board for the second straight inning, the Bruins continued to swing the bat well and increase its lead. In the top of the third, the first three BU batters worked consecutive walks to load the bases. Junior Chandler Adkins (Knoxville, Tenn.) then ripped a ground rule double to the right field corner, scoring two more for a 3-0 lead.
Western Kentucky responded with a four spot in the bottom of the inning to take a 4-3 lead after three complete.
Things slowed down for both squads in the fourth and fifth with neither team able to plate any in the innings. Western Kentucky struck again in the bottom of the sixth, scoring two runs on two hits to increase its lead 6-3.
Belmont was unable to score in the seventh or eighth innings, but good pitching by junior Justin Fowlkes (Collierville, Tenn.) and sophomore Logan Bowen (Bowling Green, Ky.) kept WKU off the board and the Bruins in striking distance.
Down to its final three outs, Belmont put together a rally. Freshman Jack Capobianco (London, Ky.), who came in as a defensive replacement in the eighth, put together a nice at-bat, working a full count walk to start the inning off. Freshman John Behrends (Chattanooga, Tenn.) stepped to the plate next and delivered. Behrends swung on a 3-2 pitch and smashed a two-run home run over the center field fence cutting Belmont's deficit 6-5. Seniors Zach Ehrhart (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) and Chas Hadden (Morristown, Tenn.) kept things going and notched back-to-back base hits, putting the tying and go-ahead runs aboard. Adkins then continued his day at the plate by laying down a beautiful sacrifice bunt, pushing both runners to scoring position. Senior Devon Gardner (Maryville, Tenn.) loaded the bases with just one out when he wore a pitch. Belmont tied things up when Severance worked a bases-loaded walk to drive the tying run across home plate. Sophomore Jackson Campbell (Russellville, Ky.) worked yet another four pitch bases-loaded walk to put Belmont ahead 7-6. The Bruins' four run top of the ninth kept things going in Bowling Green.
Belmont's comeback fell just short as the Hilltoppers dug in and scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth to take the 8-7 victory.
Belmont will be back in action this weekend for an important Ohio Valley Conference series at Jacksonville State. First pitch for the series is slated for 6:00 p.m. CT Friday, April 12.