NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont baseball faced Alabama A&M in its final home midweek contest of the 2017 campaign, coming away with a 10-7 victory Wednesday evening at E.S. Rose Park.
The Bruins bats exploded for 15 hits, highlighted by a pair of three-hit outings from juniors Rafael Bournigal (Mulberry, Fla.) and Kyle Conger (Franklin, Tenn.). The squad also saw three different players drive in multiple runs, including a trio from another junior, Ben Kocher (Zionsville, Ind.).
Both squads got off to a hot start as Alabama A&M used a pair of base knocks and a sacrifice bunt to hang up the first run of the game. Belmont followed up with a couple runs of their own – the first coming in the form of a leadoff homer from Bournigal, dropping one into the bullpen in left field. The Bruins plated the second run via bases loaded hit-by-pitch to take the lead, 2-1.
Sophomore Chas Hadden (Morristown, Tenn.) increased BU's advantage with a RBI base shot to left field in the second. The first baseman brought home senior Tyler Walsh (Evansville, Ind.) who started the frame with a single of his own and later advanced to second with his 17th stolen base of the season.
The Bulldogs stuck around, scoring three unanswered runs on a sacrifice fly and two-run long ball to reclaim the lead. AAMU came within one in the fourth on Cornelious Woods' sacrifice before Carlton Peppers put them up, 4-3, on a dinger to left-centerfield.
Belmont then compiled seven hits in the home half of the fifth to produce six runs and separate themselves from Alabama A&M, 9-4. The Bruins wore out the left field with four of their shots getting through the gap – accounting for five runs. Veteran duo Walsh and Bournigal each contributed with a two-bagger to cap off the scoring outburst.
The two continued to go back-and-forth as AAMU wasn't willing to go away quietly, plating three runs in the sixth on a couple of hits and a Bruin miscue. After coming within two, Belmont used a Bulldog error as well to make it a 10-7 game.
The scoring came to a standstill after the sixth as neither team could get much to go. Belmont reliever Zach Hodgkiss (Eads, Tenn.) came in for an inning of relief and tossed BU's only three up, three down frame of the game – striking out the final batter he saw. He was joined by senior Brennen Washington (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) who took the mound for the final stanza and collected his first save of the season, while rookie Michael Matter (Ft. Myers, Fla.) earned his first career win.
The Bruins will host Southeast Missouri for their final OVC series of the 2017 campaign, May 12-14 at E.S. Rose Park. First pitch is scheduled for Friday, May 12 at 5 p.m.