NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont Baseball snapped a four-game losing skid Tuesday night as they completed a season sweep of the rival Lipscomb Bisons. The Bruins won the final game of the series 8-6.
Belmont set the tone of the night early. On the first pitch of the game, senior Kyle Conger (Brentwood, Tenn.) led things off with a triple to center field. Sophomore Matt Cogen (Franklin, Tenn.) followed suit, plating the first run with a triple of his own. Cogen would then score on a wild pitch and the Bruins would take an early 2-0 lead after the top of the first inning.
Lipscomb answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the first after a walk and three base hits, but the Bruins got out of the inning with little damage and a 2-1 lead after stranding two Bisons on base.
After a scoreless second inning, Belmont tallied their third run in the top of the third inning. Even though the Bruins didn't record a hit in the inning, Conger and junior Chas Hadden (Morristown, Tenn.) worked walks and Conger scored on another wild pitch to take a 3-1 lead.
After two quick outs in the top of the fifth, Cogen stepped up to the plate and delivered a solo home run well over the center field fence for his fourth home run and 34th RBI of the season to increase the lead 4-1. Hadden singled to left field the following at-bat and senior Ben Kocher (Zionsville, Ind.) came up next and delivered a huge RBI double down the left field line that scored Hadden all the way from first base to give Belmont a 5-1 lead.
The Bisons tried to get something going in the bottom of the fifth inning. After a leadoff double and a walk, Lipscomb had runners on the corners with no outs. Sophomore Michael Matter (Ft. Myers, Fla.) buckled down and pitched beautifully the rest of the inning, striking out one and forcing a fly out and ground out the end the inning with no further damage.
The Bruins scored once again in the top of the sixth inning. After freshman Jordan Henshaw (New Market, Ala.) worked a leadoff walk, senior Cully Day (Mahomet, Ill.) put a ball into play with a single to left field. Conger then delivered a beautiful sacrifice fly to left field that scored the sixth run of the night. The Bisons got out of the inning with their first strikeout of the night and BU took a 6-1.
After five scoreless innings, Lipscomb scored in the bottom of the seventh inning, taking advantage of a Belmont error to cut the lead 6-2. The Bisons' continued to chip away at the lead with a two-out solo home run in the bottom of the eighth the put the pressure on the Bruins cutting the lead 6-3.
Belmont responded in the top of the ninth, tacking on two more runs in the inning. Leadoff man, junior Hunter Holland (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) reached first on an error by the first baseman. With one out, junior Zach Ehrhart (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) delivered a RBI double down the third base line that scored Holland. Cogen continued to have a hot bat, as he sent a single to right field before Hadden sent Ehrhart to score on a fielder's choice RBI. Belmont put runners on first and second with two outs, but they were both stranded. Belmont took a comfortable 8-3 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth where freshman Logan Bowen (Bowling Green, Ky.) was called upon to close things out on the mound for the Bruins.
Lipscomb put together a late rally, scoring three runs in the bottom of the ninth. After two walks, a hit-batsmen, and two consecutive base hits, Lipscomb pulled within two runs. Bowen buckled down and retired the next three Bisons to secure the 8-6 victory.
Five Belmont pitchers saw action on the bump. The group struck out eight, walked three, and only gave up two earned runs. Sophomore Justin Fowlkes (Collierville, Tenn.) earned the start.
Matter picked up his second win of the season after a beautiful outing. He pitched five complete innings, scattered just four hits, struck out four and walked just one. He forced Belmont's first three up, three down inning of the game and allowed just one unearned run.
Belmont was able to put several balls in play, striking out just two times the entire game. Belmont recorded 10 hits on the night.
Belmont travels to Murray, Ky. this weekend to take on Murray State for a very important conference series. First pitch of the series is slated for 6:00 p.m. CT on Friday, April 27.