On the opening day of the 2014 season, the Belmont baseball team split a doubleheader against the visiting Bowling Green Falcons on Saturday afternoon.
In the first game of the afternoon, Belmont was able to pull away late to earn a 2-1 victory while the second game was a different story as the Bruins fell 8-3.
“Pitching wise, our pitching has to do a little better job. They put us in some difficult situations in the second game,” said Belmont coach Dave Jarvis. “But you can’t say enough about what Austin Coley did and Greg Brody in the first game.”
The Bruins were able to capture the first game of the series in seven innings behind an offensive rally late in the game.
Coley earned the win and completed six innings of work in his first start since suffering an injury last year. The right hander struck out three and allowed four hits.
In the top of the fourth inning, the Falcons were first to get on the board when Andrew Kubuski hit a double up the middle to score T.J. Losby.
After catcher Alec Diamond started off the sixth inning with a walk, centerfielder Drew Ferguson reached first on a fielder’s choice, advancing Diamond to second for the potential game-tying run.
Falcons pitcher Cody Apthorpe tried to pick off Ferguson, but a wild throw over to first base brought Diamond around to tie the game on the error.
With the next at-bat, freshman Nick Egli ripped one up the middle to bring in Ferguson for his first RBI single as a Bruin.
This would prove to be the eventual game-winner as Belmont’s defense held their own in the top of the seventh. Senior Greg Brody picked up his first career save as a Bruin.
Belmont couldn’t complete the sweep as they fell 8-3 in the second game of the afternoon.
The Bruins struggled defensively as they allowed a total of 16 hits and committed two errors. Transfer Chase Cunningham and Dan Ludwig split time on the mound for the Bruins with Ludwig picking up the loss for Belmont.
“I thought Chase gave us a great start at the beginning of the second game but began to lose a bit of his command,” Jarvis said. “You have to tip your hat to Bowling Green,they deserved it.”
After the Falcons took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning, Losby sent one up center infield to score Patrick Lancaster and Brian Bien to extend their lead to 3-0.
With the bases loaded for the second time in the game for the Bruins, Ferguson was hit hard by a fastball which brought in freshman Tyler Walsh to cut the lead down to two.
The following inning, Walsh slugged a pitch deep in right field that brought around Kinney and Petett to tie the game 3-3.
Bien scored off a single by Losby to retake the lead heading into the seventh inning stretch for the Falcons.
After a miscommunication in the infield, the Falcons extended their lead 5-3 off a single from Lancaster in the top of the eighth. With the next at-bat, Jeremy Shay brought in two more runs for Bowling Green.
The Falcons would tack on a final run in the top of ninth. While transfer reliever Christopher Carroll struck out two in the top of the ninth, Belmont would be unable to put together a rally.
“We’re going to have to become more consistent at the plate and offensively,” Jarvis said. “But that’s going to be some of the growing pains with some of the young people we have in our lineup.”
Belmont will close out its opening weekend series against Bowling Green tomorrow with the first pitched scheduled for 1 p.m.