Softball Heads Across Town to Face Tennessee State
NASHVILLE, Tenn.--- Belmont will travel across Nashville to face Tennessee State University in the first mid-week double-header of the season. The Bruins hold a 15-9 edge in the series but have lost the last two meetings to the Tigers. In the past five meetings, the series is tied at five games apiece. Belmont will look to break that gridlock and pick up two wins and establish their first winning streak of the season.
The Bruins are coming off a 2-2 performance at the Austin Peay Spring Classic. Belmont picked up wins against UMKC and Austin Peay in the tournament to improve to 3-5 on the season. In spite of hosting an opening weekend tournament, this afternoon's games will be the first for the Bruins in Music City. By the end of March, Belmont will be very familiar with the TSU stadium as they will also be playing their own home games there until construction of E.S. Rose Park is completed.
Tennessee State enters today's contest at 4-5 on the season and are coming off a 1-4 weekend in the Rajin Cajun Tournament. The Tigers lost twice to No. 16 Louisiana-Lafayette and picked up a win over Stephen F. Austin. The meeting with Belmont will be the home opener for TSU and will be the first between Belmont Head Coach Chris Kuhlmeyer and Tiger Head Coach Jeff Dabney, who is in his first season at TSU. Both coaches have ties to Wichita State University, where Dabney graduated from and Kulhmeyer was an assistant coach before coming to Belmont.
Belmont is led offensively by junior Ashley Byers (Westerville, Ohio). Byers recorded four home runs in the opening weekend and recorded three hits, including one extra base hit, this past weekend. Her 1.000 slugging percentage for the season leads the Atlantic Sun Conference while her four home runs are tied for first in the league. Senior Kelley Cash led the Bruins in the APSU tournament, recording four hits, including two doubles, and posting a .364 batting average and a .545 slugging percentage. Belmont is led defensively by sophomore pitcher Devon Schmidt. Schmidt picked up two wins this weekend, one as a starting pitcher against Austin Peay for her second complete game of the season, and the other in a relief appearance against UMKC where she shut down the Roos while the Bruin offense sparked a comeback in the fifth inning and made up a five-run deficit and went ahead 6-5. The one run margin would be enough for a Belmont victory.
Following today's game against TSU, Belmont will head to Auburn for the War Eagle Classic. The Bruins will face Auburn in a Friday evening game starting at 3 p.m. Saturday's action will kick off with a 10 a.m. game against Marshall and a 5:30 p.m. game against Georgia Southern. Belmont will close the tournament with Murray State at 9 a.m. on Sunday. It will mark the second time this season that the Bruins face a regular-season opponent in tournament play. Belmont has also faced regular-season opponent Austin Peay twice in tournament play this season.
Live stats will not be available for today's games against TSU. However, free score updates are available through the GameChanger service. Score updates, full recaps, and final boxscores will also be posted at www.belmontbruins.com.