ATLANTA, Ga. – A couple of extra base knocks from senior utility Nick Egli (Brentwood, Tenn.) in the first two frames helped propel Belmont baseball past No. 17 Georgia Tech, 11-5, to avoid the series sweep Sunday afternoon inside the Russ Chandler Stadium. The Bruins wore out the Yellow Jackets bullpen from start to finish, handing them only their second loss of the season.
Egli reached base in each of his first four at-bats, including tying a career-best performance by tallying four RBIs after the first two frames with help of a triple and home run. He was walked in his next two plate appearances, contributing to a career high three runs in an outing. Eight different Bruins contributed to the 12-hit outing, with all but one of the starters recording at least one hit. Kyle Conger (Brentwood, Tenn.), Alex Ward (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and Tyler Walsh (Evansville, Ind.) joined Egli with a multi-hit day.
For the second consecutive game Belmont (5-6) separated themselves from Georgia Tech (9-2) in its first turn at the plate. A leadoff walk put a runner on for sophomore infielder Chas Hadden (Morristown, Tenn.) to increase his hitting streak to six-straight contests with a RBI base knock up the middle, igniting a three-run inning. Egli brought Hadden home on the next play, delivering his first triple since 2015 to the centerfield wall. With a runner in scoring position, sophomore Rafael Bournigal (Mulberry, Fla.) launched a sacrifice fly to the centerfielder, securing a 3-0 lead for the Bruins.
A RBI single from the Yellow Jackets brought them within two after a frame, but BU continued to give the Ramblin' Wreck a hard time at the plate in the second after a single and hit-by-pitch put runners on first and second for redshirt-freshman Matt Cogen (Franklin, Tenn.) to plate Belmont's fourth run. Egli then stepped to the plate and one-upped his three-bagger in the previous inning by catapulting a ball over the left field barrier to register the Bruins first home run of the series. The veteran tallied four RBIs in his first two plate appearance with a pair of extra-base hits to put Belmont up, 7-1.
Georgia Tech added their second run in the bottom of the third but couldn't get anything else off Belmont's starting hurler, sophomore Connor Etheridge (Springfield, Ill.). The Bruins defense continued to shut down the Yellow Jacket's dominant offense in the fourth stanza by working themselves out of a jam. The Ramblin' Wreck resided on the corners with one down before the Bruins halted their chances of cutting into the five-run deficit. Junior catcher Austin Reynolds (Smyrna, Tenn.) sparked the second out, releasing a bullet to Conger who denied Georgia Tech of stealing second. Etheridge wrapped up the inning by tossing his fourth strikeout of the day, stranding a runner on third.
Etheridge's day was ended prematurely after he wore a line drive to the back in the home half of the fifth, forcing head coach Dave Jarvis to call on senior Brennan Washington (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) to replace the starter. Washington gave up a two-run long ball to centerfield, allowing the Yellow Jackets to bring themselves within three, 7-4.
The Bruins made the Yellow Jackets pay for intentionally walking Ward to load the bases with just one down. Junior infielder Ben Kocher (Zionsville, Ind.) collected a RBI after getting hit-by-pitch to bring in the first run before senior outfielder Tyler Walsh (Evansville, Ind.) connected on his first hit of the day for a RBI single up the middle. Belmont's two insurance runs to increase its lead back to five, 9-4.
A throwing error from Conger allowed the Yellow Jackets to add a run in the bottom of the seventh, but Belmont brought in senior closer Dom Veltri (Clarksville, Tenn.) to throw the final two innings, ensuring that the Bruins claimed the final game of the series, 11-5.
The Yellow Jackets recycled six hurlers, including three in the first three stanzas. Their starting pitcher, Keyton Gibson, swallowed the loss after giving up three runs two outs into the opening inning.
The Bruins will continue their seven-game road swing at Western Kentucky on Tuesday, March 7 at Nick Denes Field. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. CT. Belmont topped WKU, 11-3, in their first meeting on Feb. 22.