RICHMOND, Ky – Belmont University Baseball defeated Eastern Kentucky University 8-5 in a crucial Ohio Valley Conference game on Thursday night.
Belmont got going early, setting the tone in the top of the first inning. Senior Zach Ehrhart (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) worked a leadoff walk to give BU an early base runner. Fellow senior Chas Hadden (Morristown, Tenn.) kept the momentum going with a single to right center field that put runners on first and second. Another walk from BU loaded the bases with nobody out. Senior Hunter Holland (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) was able to put BU on the board with a sacrifice fly and the Bruins increased its lead with a ground ball from senior Devon Gardner (Maryville, Tenn.) for a 2-0 lead after the first complete inning.
The Bruins doubled its lead in the top of the second. With three-straight walks to open the inning, BU loaded the bases with no outs. An infield single that Hadden beat out and a sacrifice fly from junior Chandler Adkins (Knoxville, Tenn.) gave BU a 4-0 lead after the visitor's half of the second.
The Colonels got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third after three base hits allowed two runs to score to cut the BU lead in half 4-2.
In response to the two run third by EKU, Belmont's bats got really hot in the top of the fourth. Arguably BU's most powerful hitter, sophomore Jackson Campbell (Russellville, Ky.) started the inning off with a solo home run that he hammered well past the left field fence. A base knock up the middle from Hadden and the second long ball of the inning, this time from Holland, gave BU a commanding 7-2 lead.
The teams traded runs in the seventh inning. BU scored its eighth run of the ninth on a two-out rally. Freshman Grayson Taylor (Cullman, Ala.) started the rally with a double to the left field wall. Taylor scored when Campbell send a blooper for a hit to shallow right field.
In the bottom of the seventh, a leadoff double came around to score for EKU to make the score 8-3. The Colonels continued to chip away at the lead in the bottom of the eighth. With two outs, a 2-run homer cut the BU lead 8-5. Sophomore Kyle Brennan (Franklin, Tenn.) took over the mound in the bottom of the eighth and got the final out needed with a strikeout to keep BU ahead.
In the bottom of the ninth, Brennan got the three outs needed to secure his ninth save of the season and the 8-5 BU victory.
Game two of the series will be Friday, May 17 at 5:00 p.m. CT.