Softball Upsets Lipscomb to Earn Split in Season Finale
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Belmont knocked off Lipscomb in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader to earn a split in the 2011 edition of the Battle of the Boulevard series. The Bruins fell in game one, 0-6, after holding Lipscomb scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning. The win in game two gave Belmont win number 11 on the season, surpassing last season's total of 10 wins. The win was the first for the Bruins over the Lady Bisons' since 2006.
Game one was a battle of dueling pitchers as sophomore Devon Schmidt (Greenbrier, Tenn.) and Lipscomb's Whitney Kiihnl each had six strikeouts through five innings. Belmont held the Lady Bisons' scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning, when Lipscomb earned a lead-off single followed by a triple from Kiihnl to make it 0-1 in favor of the Lady Bisons. A tough call that went against the Bruins led to a Lipscomb run, making the score 0-2. A foul tipped third strike was ruled to have hit the ground, giving the Lipscomb batter another swing and taking the out away from Belmont. The batter made the most of the new life, doubling to score the run. A single moved the runner to third, followed by a stolen base and walk left the bases loaded with two outs. The next batter, Caroline Mason, hit a grand slam home run to give Lipscomb the final margin, 0-6.
Belmont got off to a fast start in game two, scoring in the first inning. Junior Cassie Bollin (Madison, Tenn.) led off the game with a single and advanced to second when senior Julie Harmon (Brentwood, Tenn.) grounded out to the first basement on the sacrifice bunt. A passed ball on Lipscomb allowed Bollin to advance to third. Freshman Ashley Hammer singled to center field to score Bollin and give the Bruins the 1-0 lead. Belmont protected the one run lead for the next seven innings, mostly behind the strong pitching performance from Schmidt who pitched her 12th complete game of the season. She struck out six batters and walked only two, in addition to surrendering only four hits and pitching her third shutout of the season. Schmidt pitched her way out of trouble every time Lipscomb put runners in scoring position, including both the sixth and seventh innings. She had two strikeouts in the bottom of the seventh inning before forcing the final out with a ground ball to the first baseman.
The win was the first for Belmont over Lipscomb since 2006 and only their ninth win in the overall series. The Bruins won at Lipscomb for the first time since 2005. It was the second time this season the Bruins upset a team seeded second or higher in the conference standings. Belmont knocked off Florida Gulf Coast earlier this month when the Eagles were tied for first. Lipscomb has secured the second seed in the conference tournament and needed to sweep Belmont to have a chance at the top seed. The Bruins finished the season with a 4-15 mark in conference play and an 11-38 mark overall.