NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont baseball battled through a pitchers dual for the first eight innings, only allowing one run before Kent State was able to take advantage of a some big hits down the stretch to claim a 3-0 victory Saturday afternoon at E.S. Rose Park.
After the Golden Flashes (2-0) bats exploded in the opening game of the series, the Bruins (0-2) bounced back with an impressive defensive outing this afternoon. Sophomore right handed hurler Dylan King (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) showed resilience right out the gates, finding himself in a jam with runners on second and third with only one out. He quickly settled in and tossed back-to-back strikeouts, robbing the Flashes chance of getting on the board early.
It was clear the Bruins were going to make KSU earn everything they got, only allowing one run for the majority of the game. King tossed four scoreless frames with help from the field in a monumental third inning. KSU led off with a single to centerfield, notching its fourth hit of the day. Moments later Kent State's Mason Mamarella ripped a foul ball towards Belmont's dugout where third baseman Ben Kocher (Zionsville, Ind.) closely watch the ball as it began to soar what seemed to be out of reach. Determined to trigger the second out of the inning, Kocher flopped over the fence near the dugout and snagged the ball just before it hit the ground. On the ensuing play centerfielder Matt Cogen (Franklin, Tenn.) displayed his cannon as he threw out a Kent State runner at home plate to keep the game scoreless.
BU kept composure as King delivered the team's first 1-2-3 inning of the year in the top of the sixth. He did so by way of two strikeouts as well as inducing a fly out to leftfield. The Murfreesboro, Tennessee product would finish the night with six innings of work, retiring eight batters and only allowing one run on seven hits.
Belmont then called on Kyle Klotz (Fairview, Tenn.) to open the seventh stanza. Klotz picked up right where King left off, retiring the side for the next two innings. It wasn't until the final frame that the sophomore hurler would relinquish two more runs after a pair of doubles from Kent State to help them secure the 3-0 victory. Senior Dom Veltri (Clarksville, Tenn.) finished the day on the mound, logging the final two outs of the game.
Cogen produced the only multi-hit game for the Bruins with his second hit coming in the sevent inning on a single to the second baseman.
King (0-1) collected the loss for Belmont, while Zach Willeman earned the win and Zach Spangler got the save for Kent State.
BU and KSU face off in the third and final game of the series on Sunday, Feb. 19 at E.S. Rose Park. Game sheduled to start at 1 p.m.