Aces tripped up at Belmont

The University of Evansville baseball team fell to host Belmont, 3-1, in a non-conference game Wednesday night at E.S. Rose Park in Nashville, Tenn.  The Bruins scored single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, and held the Purple Aces to just one run on six hits.

"It was a good, competitive college baseball game that just didn't go our way," head coach Wes Carroll said.  "Belmont didn't make any mistakes and was able to capitalize on ours."

Senior Jason Hockemeyer finished the game 2-for-4 at the plate to lead Evansville (12-17) offensively and sophomore Kyle Pollock tallied the Aces' lone RBI on a sacrifice fly, going 1-for-2 on the night.  Redshirt junior Johnny Day saw his on-base streak halted at 36 games, as he went 0-for-4.

"Offensively, we just couldn't get anything going," Carroll said.  "Their pitching staff did a great job of pounding the zone and keeping us off balance."

Senior Ryan Billo (1-3) suffered the loss in relief, as he allowed two runs, one earned, on a pair of hits and two walks in 2.1 innings out of the bullpen.  Fellow senior Josh Biggs allowed one run on four hits, while recording four strikeouts around a walk in his first start of the year, while freshman Phillip Diehl tossed a pair of perfect innings and struck out three.

After the two teams combined for just two hits in the first three innings, Belmont (21-6) put the first run on the board in the bottom of the fourth.  Josh Davis started the frame with a double to left and scored on a two-out single off the bat of Drew Turner to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead.

Evansville pushed across a run in its half of the fifth to tie the score at 1-1, when Senior Chris Pearson delivered a leadoff double, advanced to third on a ground out and scored on Pollock's sacrifice fly to center.  However, BU answered with a run in the bottom half of the inning and regained the lead on a Jared Breen RBI single that plated Jamie Ritchie.

Belmont added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth to push its advantage to 3-1.  The Bruins took advantage of the Aces' only defensive miscue, as Matt Beaty reached on an error by Jake Mahon to lead off the inning.  Beaty then stole second and scampered home on a squeeze bunt from Dom Veltri for the game's final run.

Josh Davis came on in the ninth for Belmont and gave up a one-out single to Hockemeyer, but retired the next two Aces to record his ninth save of the season and preserve the win Scott Moses, who improved to 2-0.

UE will return to Missouri Valley Conference play this weekend, when it hosts Southern Illinois at Braun Stadium for a three-game series beginning Friday at 6 p.m.