EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The visiting Belmont Bruins’ baseball team combined solid pitching with three home runs on Saturday to take the Missouri Valley Conference series-opener over the University of Evansville Purple Aces by a final score of 8-1 at German American Bank Field at Charles H. Braun Stadium in Evansville.

“You have to credit their starter, as he really competed against our lineup today,” said UE head coach Wes Carroll.  “It is going to be a dog fight tomorrow to win the series.  We need to come to the park ready to compete for 18 innings tomorrow.”

Current MVC Pitcher of the Week Andy Bean (3-3) of Belmont held Evansville at bay for six solid innings of work to earn the victory.  His only mistake was a long solo home run by UE fifth-year first baseman Chase Hug in the bottom of the third inning.  Outside of that, he held Evansville to just a single run on five hits while striking out seven in 6.0 innings of work.  Reliever Jett Thielke worked around two hits and a walk in three innings of work to record his second save of the year on the mound.

Offensively, Belmont gave Bean all of the runs he would need in the top of the third inning, thanks to a two-run opposite-field home run by first baseman Brody Heaton, as he took advantage of a 20-mile-per-hour wind blowing out to right field to just clear the fence for his second home run of the year.

Hug’s long home run to right-center field in the bottom of the frame cut the Belmont lead to 2-1.  UE would put two more men on in the frame, but with two outs, Bean struck out UE senior third baseman Brent Widder to get out of the jam.

Belmont catcher Blake Barton would then launch a solo shot of his own to right-center field in the fifth inning to push the lead to 3-1.  BU centerfielder Jeff Clarke would then put the game out of reach with a grand slam in the sixth inning to move the advantage to 7-1.  Belmont would tack on a run on a run-scoring wild pitch in the eighth inning to provide the final margin of victory.

Heaton and second baseman Jack Rando would lead Belmont offensively with two-hit efforts.  Hug paced UE with a 2-for-4 effort to go along with his sixth home run of the year.

The two teams will conclude the series on Sunday at 12 p.m. with a doubleheader.  UE is expected to send junior RHP Shane Harris (2-1, 5.00 ERA) and junior LHP Donovan Schultz (4-1, 2.81 ERA) to the mound on Sunday.  Sunday’s first game can be seen live on ESPN+, with the nightcap available on ESPN3.  Both games of the twinbill can be heard in Evansville on 107.1 FM-WJPS and the Old National Bank/Purple Aces Sports Network from Learfield.