RICHMOND, Ky. – Sophomore hurler Dylan King (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) issued Eastern Kentucky 11 strikeouts as Belmont baseball ended the Colonels five-game winning streak, claiming the second game of the series, 7-3, Friday afternoon at Earle Combs Stadium.
In addition to an outstanding performance on the hill from King, junior infielder Ben Kocher (Zionsville, Ind.) and the Bruins (6-8) offense disrupted Eastern Kentucky's pitching staff. Kocher launched the first of Belmont's two home runs, and went on to tally two more hits going 3-for-4 at the plate. Redshirt-freshman Matt Cogen (Franklin, Tenn.) and junior Alex Ward (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) joined Kocher with multi-hit outings themselves – both recording two.
After EKU (8-7) took a 1-0 lead in the home half of the opening frame and starting hurler Aaron Ochsenbein retired Belmont's first four batters all via strikeout, Kocher halted the Bruins silent offense. With the help of some wind, the junior ripped his first home run of the season over the right field wall to tie up the game, 1-1, on a solo shot.
With renewed energy contributed by Kocher, the Bruins went on to make plays both on the field and at the plate. King kicked off the bottom of the second by striking out the first two Colonels before junior Alex Ward (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) triggered the third out with a diving catch in shallow right field. Ward then took the plate and led off the top of the third with a two-bagger up the middle. Belmont went on to take the lead with the contributions of a sacrifice bunt from catcher Austin Reynolds (Smyrna, Tenn.), moving Ward to third for sophomore Chas Hadden (Morristown, Tenn.) to bring him home on a sacrifice fly putting BU up, 2-1.
Belmont distanced themselves in the top of the sixth behind a five-run frame initiated by a two-run long ball from senior utility Nick Egli (Brentwood, Tenn.). Following Egli's dinger, the Bruins once again threatened after Kocher and Ward each documented their second hits of the day to bring up Reynolds who delivered a blooper into shallow left field, collecting his first RBI of the year to give BU a three-run advantage. Belmont then loaded the bases and continued to tack on runs as the squad worked their way through the order. Hadden sent in the final two runs of the inning, bringing his total to three RBIs with a base knock to right field. The Bruins boasted a 7-2 advantage two-thirds of the way through game two.
Head Coach Dave Jarvis called it a day for King after dealing seven frames and tying a career-best 11 strikeouts. The sophomore only gave up two runs and six hits before senior Brennan Washington (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) took over on the mound for the eighth. King earned the win and is now 2-2 on the mound this year.
EKU put a dent into its deficit in the bottom of the eighth with a home run over the right field wall to bring the Colonels within four, 7-3, but that's as close as they'd get.