CHARLESTON, Ill. – Belmont Baseball earned a 5-2 victory over conference opponent Eastern Illinois University behind another impressive outing by starting pitcher junior Casey Queener (Brentwood, Tenn.).
Eastern Illinois struck early in the matchup to take an early 1-0 lead. After Queener struck out the first batter he faced, the next batter send a solo home run over the left field fence to take an early lead.
Belmont finally cracked the scoreboard in the top of the third inning. After a leadoff walk by senior Cully Day (Mahomet, Ill.) the next two batters were retired, but junior Devon Gardner (Maryville, Tenn.) got things going again with a single to left field. The Panther's left fielder then committed a fielding error that the Bruins took advantage of as Day came across home plate for the first Belmont run of the afternoon. Sophomore Matt Cogen (Franklin, Tenn.) plated the second run with a RBI double, marking his sixth consecutive hit in as many at-bats dating back to Saturday.
The Belmont lead didn't last long as the Panthers knotted things back up in the bottom of the inning with their second solo long ball of the game.
After two complete innings of scoreless action, the Bruins retook the lead in the top of the fifth. After a leadoff single by senior Austin Reynolds (Smyrna, Tenn.), a sacrifice bunt from junior Hunter Holland (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) pushed him into scoring position, he then scored on a throwing error to take the 3-2 lead. The Bruins continued to threaten as they had runners on the corners with two outs after senior Kyle Conger (Brentwood, Tenn.) worked a walk, but the next batter was retired.
The Bruins kept the Panthers off the board for five consecutive innings behind strong work on the mound from Queener. Twice, Queener struck out the side with an EIU runner in scoring position.
The Bruins added to their lead in the top of the ninth. After the first Belmont batter struck out, Conger and Gardner laid down back to back base hits. Conger scored the first run of the inning with the help of a RBI single from junior Chas Hadden (Morristown, Tenn.). Ben Kocher then stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and one out and delivered a sacrifice fly to center field that drove in the fifth run of the game.
With a 5-2 lead, freshman Kyle Brennan (Franklin, Tenn.) took over the mound for the Bruins. Brennan closed things out, earning his second save of the season .
Queener had another outstanding outing, claiming his second win in as many appearances. He went for eight complete innings, striking out 10 and walking only one.
The Bruins are back on the diamond Tuesday, April 17th as they travel to Southern Illinois University. First pitch is slated for 5:00 p.m.