ATLANTA, Ga. - Belmont baseball claimed an early lead, but No. 17 Georgia Tech's power proved to be too much for the Bruins in game two as they dropped a 10-2 decision Saturday afternoon inside Russ Chandler Stadium.
The Bruins (4-6) wasted little time making up for a quiet first game against the Yellow Jackets, registering three consecutive hits – totaling their hit total from yesterday - to lead off the first frame. Junior infielder Kyle Conger (Brentwood, Tenn.) kicked off the hitting frenzy with a double that met the left field wall allowing Belmont to threaten right away. After failing to register a hit yesterday, redshirt-freshman Matt Cogen (Franklin, Tenn.) got back to his ways in his first at bat with a two bagger of his own, this time the ball ripped down the right field corner to bring in Belmont's first run. Sophomore infielder Chas Hadden (Morristown, Tenn.) then headed to the plate and laid down a beautiful bunt that painted the left line, advancing Cogen to third and allowing him to reach first safely. The play set senior outfielder Brennan Washington (Morristown, Tenn.) up to deliver a sacrifice fly to left-center. His second RBI of the series put the Bruins up, 2-0, in the top half of the frame for their first advantage against the Ramblin' Wreck.
The Yellow Jackets (9-1) immediately responded to tie up the game with a two-run first frame of their own, and never looked back. A leadoff single put a runner on for Joey Bart to send one over the centerfield fence two pitches in, knotting the game up, 2-2. Georgia Tech tacked on two more hits in the second, including a RBI single to take the lead, 3-2, after two. With runners still on first and second and just two down, senior catcher Clay Payne (Powell, Tenn.) collected the pitch and deposited it to senior third baseman Drake Byrd (Pigeon Forge, Tenn.) who caught a Yellow Jacket attempting to steal – it was the first time in 13 attempts that GT has been robbed of stealing a base this year.
After connecting on their first three at bats of the game, the Bruins failed to register a hit for the next three frames as Georgia Tech retired eight batters before issuing senior utility Nick Egli (Brentwood, Tenn.) a five-pitch walk. Egli was the sole Bruin to reach base since the opening stanza.
Belmont then opened the home half of the fourth frame with a bases-clearing double play, 1-4-3, to trigger two quick outs. However, four walks and a single dealt by starting hurler Dylan King (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) would plague the Bruins. The Ramblin' Wreck were able to plate a pair of free runs with help of two bases loaded walks to increase their advantage, 5-2.
A hit-by-pitch and Yellow Jacket miscue put BU in scoring position to begin the fifth, but the squad was unable to convert any runs. In the meantime, Georgia Tech capitalized on yet another two-out rally to tack on an insurance run in the bottom half to lead, 6-2, before head coach Dave Jarvis called on sophomore righty Kyle Klotz (Fairview, Tenn.) to take the hill.
Klotz continued to make the most of his appearance on the mound, after giving up a solo shot in the bottom of the sixth he documented Belmont's first 1-2-3 inning in the seventh. It would be the only stanza in which Georgia Tech wouldn't record at least one hit.
Georgia Tech added three more runs in the eighth to top the Bruins, 10-2. Belmont would go on to load the bases in the final frame on a leadoff single from pinch hitter Ben Kocher (Zionsville, Ind.) and back-to-back walks but a fly out and double play would keep the Bruins from their hopes of putting a dent into the final score.
Belmont will conclude its series with No. 17 Georgia Tech on Sunday, March 5. The game is scheduled to start at 12 p.m. CT inside Russ Chandler Stadium.