NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Belmont softball's Mia Vierra earned conference player of the week honors for the first time in her career, the conference announced on Monday. Vierra helped the Bruins to their first conference sweep since 2009 with both her offense and defensive efforts last Friday.
Vierra, a sophomore from Palmdale, Calif., picked up two wins in the pitching circle against Stetson last weekend, but neither would have been possible if it wasn't for Vierra's offense. With Belmont trailing 1-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning of game one, Stetson issued an intentional walk to sophomore Kim Johnson to load the bases and bring Vierra to the plate. Vierra was a .181 career hitter going into the game, but delivered in a clutch situation for the Bruins, recording her second career home run and first career grand slam to give Belmont a 5-2 lead and herself some breathing room to close out the win for the Bruins. In game two, Vierra returned to the circle in relief of junior Becca Gift with the bases loaded and one out in the top of the sixth inning. Vierra earned a force out at home for the second out of the inning and recorded a strike out to end the inning and get the Bruins out of a jam. In the bottom of the seventh, Vierra came to the plate in yet another crucial situation after Belmont scored one run with one out to tie the game at 1-1. Vierra recorded a walk-off RBI single to give the Bruins the win and their first sweep since taking two straight from Jacksonville in 2009. It was only the third sweep ever for Belmont since joining the A-Sun.
For the weekend, Vierra hit .222, with two hits, one run, one home run and five RBIs. She also posted a 5.14 ERA and recorded a team high 16.1 innings pitched. Vierra is the team leader in ERA in conference games with a 4.57 mark and leads the team with three conference wins and 33.2 innings pitched in conference play. Since entering A-Sun play, the sophomore has emerged as Belmont's top pitcher, with eight appearances, four starts, and three complete games so far. Vierra will look to lead the Bruins to continued success in the Atlantic Sun when the team returns to conference play on Saturday with a crucial doubleheader against rival Lipscomb at E.S. Rose Park. Belmont will also face Western Kentucky in a non-conference contest on Wednesday.
The conference honor for Vierra was the first of her career and the second for the Bruins in as many years. It was the sixth time the school has picked up the honor all-time, and Vierra is just the fifth Bruin to earn the award. Teammate Ashley Byers picked up Player of the Week honors last season.
All-Time Belmont Softball A-Sun Player-of-the-Week Winners
Mia Vierra (4/9/12)
Ashley Byers (4/18/11)
Angie Helseth (3/31/08)
Sarah Vaughn (3/16/07)
Erin Mullen (4/18/05; 4/5/04)