NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Seven Belmont baseball hurlers pieced together an impressive outing on the hill, compiling a three-hit shutout over Evansville Wednesday evening at E.S. Rose Park as the Bruins collected the 3-0 win over the Purple Aces.
The Bruins pitching staff managed the first four frames very effectively with three different pitchers sitting down each of the initial 12 Purple Aces they collectively faced. Sophomore Casey Queener (Brentwood, Tenn.) got the starting nod, tossing the first two flawless frames with the addition of a couple strikeouts. Austin Reynolds (Smyrna, Tenn.) and Zach Hodgkiss (Eads, Tenn.) then came in to relieve and kept up the trend – both tossing a perfect inning.
Hodgkiss returned for the fifth and allowed the first Evansville base runner on a throwing error, but quickly cleaned it up and sat down the next to ensure that UE remained scoreless. The Belmont hurlers retired the first 14 batters they saw.
It wasn't until the home half of the fifth that BU converted base runners into runs, having previously stranded the first eight Bruins to reach. With redshirt-freshman Matt Cogen (Franklin, Tenn.) residing on first, senior designated hitter Nick Egli (Brentwood, Tenn.) let one soar over the centerfield wall for a two-run bomb that put BU up, 2-0. It was the veteran's 13th long ball of the season and brought his total to 42 RBIs.
Evansville collected its first hit of the game with two down in the top of the six as rookie hurler Justin Fowlkes (Collierville, Tenn.) was the fourth Bruin reliever to take the hill. He sat down the first pair of Purple Aces he faced, continuing to cause trouble for them at the plate before Craig Shepherd broke up the no-hit bid with a base knock through the left side. Fowlkes went on to get the next batter swinging and force UE to hang up another scoreless inning.
The Bruins tacked on an insurance run in the seventh courtesy of sophomore Hunter Holland (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) who launched a high flier into right field with runners on corners to register a sacrifice fly and bring Cogen home as he scored for the second time to make it a 3-0 contest.
BU continued to get valuable pitches from its bullpen all night as senior Brennan Washington (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) came in for the eighth and allowed a leadoff hit but then fanned the next three batters he face to induce Evansville's eighth scoreless frame, keeping the shutout intact. Senior closer Dom Veltri (Clarksville, Tenn.) came in and solidified the shutout with BU's fifth three up, three down stanza to earn his career-best eighth save of the year.
The Bruins return to OVC action on the road at Tennessee Tech for a three-game series, May 5-7. First pitch for game one is slated for 6 p.m. at Bush Stadium.