Softball Goes 1-1 in APSU Spring Classic, Comes From Behind to Beat UMKC
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - - After a rough start to the day with a 0-8 loss to Ball State in the first game of the Austin Peay Spring Classic, Belmont (2-4, 0-0) bounced back in game two, coming from behind to beat UMKC 6-5 in their second game of the day.
The Bruins faced off against Ball State in a 9 a.m. contest to start the day. Belmont struggled offensively, stranding two runners in the first inning. The Bruins would not get another base runner until the third inning when sophomore Courtney Elrod was hit by a pitch and awarded first base. Belmont managed only three hits in the game and surrendered nine hits and eight runs. It was the first time the Bruins have been shut out this season.
Belmont entered the day's second game looking to rebound against UMKC in the first ever meeting between the two schools. The Bruins' opened the game on offense and the first three batters were retired in order while the Kangaroos opened the game with a single off of the Bruins' starting pitcher Ashley Byers who made her first start of the season. The Roos were unable to manufacture a run and the game moved to the second inning were Belmont still struggled to get anything going offensively and went down in order in inning two. The home half of the second inning was full of scoring for UMKC and the Bruins surrendered five runs in the bottom of the inning to put UMKC ahead 0-5. Byers surrendered three hits in 1.2 innings and was relieved by freshman Mia Vierra. Vierra pitched two complete innings before sophomore Devon Schmidt came on in relief. Schmidt would give up no runs and only one hit in 3.1 innings, while walking none and striking out five. Schmidt's performance earned her her second win of the season.
After going down in order in both the third and fourth innings, Belmont finally came to life in the top of the fifth. The Bruins would make it all the way through the batting order before the inning was through. Byers, Belmont's offensive leader, got things started with a double to right center. Junior Stayci Cook, next in the line-up, also doubled, scoring freshman Kayla Brown who was on to pinch run for Byers. Junior Amanda Buntin reached on an error to third after a hard hit ball. Sophomore Courtney Elrod walked to load the bases. With three runners on, senior Kelley Cash came through for Belmont driving the ball to right center and scoring Cook and Buntin. The score now 3-5, the Bruins' big inning was just getting started. After a pitching change, the rest of the Belmont line-up got in on the offensive action. After reaching on a fielder's choice, freshman M.J. Lawson stole second and then advanced to third on a throwing error by the UMKC catcher, which scored Cash from third. The Bruins had made it a one run game when junior Hannah Irwin earned an RBI with a ground out to second base and scored Lawson from third for the go-ahead run. Belmont recorded six hits in the inning and took the lead, 6-5, heading into the top of the sixth inning. From there, it was up to Schmidt and the Bruin defense to hold the Roos. With the help of Schmidt's strong closing effort, Belmont secured the win to go 1-1 on the day.
"Today's win was a total team effort," Head Coach Chris Kulhmeyer said. "We used almost everyone in the line-up and our players stepped up when they needed to. We finally played the way we needed to and hit the ball the way we knew were capable of doing. It is great to get that win."
The Bruins will be back in action on Sunday with a 1 p.m. game against Cleveland State. Belmont will also play hosts Austin Peay in the final game of the tournament at 5 p.m.