MACON, Ga. -- Belmont (11-30, 5-7 A-Sun) needed a big weekend to get back on track in conference play, and the Bruins got off to a good start with two wins at Mercer. Belmont took both games by a one-run margin, winning game one, 4-3, and game two, 7-6. It was the second conference sweep for the Bruins this season.
Sophomore pitcher Mia Vierra, who has by far been the Bruins' most dominant pitcher in conference play with a 3.78 ERA, picked up two wins on the day. Vierra also helped herself out offensively, recording her second home run of the season in game two. In game one, Belmont scored one run in the top of the inning to start the game on top. Mercer added two runs in the bottom of the third inning to move ahead 2-1. Belmont scored three more runs in the top of the sixth inning to take the lead for good. In the bottom of the sixth, the Vierra got things started when she reached on an error. Sophomore Heather Turner doubled, advancing Vierra to third. Senior Ashley Byers, the Bruins' biggest offensive threat this season, was intentionally walked to load the bases. Vierra scored on a wild pitch, pulling the Bruins within one, 2-3. Senior Stayci Cook continued her hot hitting with an RBI single that tied the game. Belmont took the lead with an RBI groundout from freshman Kat Hollingsworth. The Bruins managed the win while recording only two hits in the game and being outhit by Mercer, who recorded eight hits in the game.
Belmont got the bats going in game two, with three different Bruins hitting home runs. Vierra, Turner, and sophomore Ashley Hammer all hit home runs, helping Belmont post double-digit hits for the second time this week. Vierra had three hits in the game while also earning the win in the circle. Three big innings in the middle of the game helped Belmont pull ahead and the Bruins held off a late rally from Mercer to get the win. Belmont scored two runs in the top of third, three runs in the top of the fourth, and one in the top of the fifth before adding one more in the top of the seventh to reach the final margin. In the third, the Bruins got things started with a single from sophomore Kim Johnson. Mia Vierra followed with a two-run home run. In the fourth inning, the hitting continued, with Cook drawing a lead-off walk followed by a single from Hollingsworth. Hammer homered, scoring three to give Belmont a 5-0 lead. The following inning, the Bruins manufactured a run after the first two batters were hit by pitches and put on base. Cook scored fellow senior Hannah Irwin on a sacrifice fly to make the score 6-0. Mercer started a comeback in the bottom of the fifth inning when they finally got on the board before adding three runs of their own in the bottom of the sixth inning to cut the Belmont lead to two runs. The Bruins increased the margin in the the seventh with a lead-off solo home run from Turner, her fourth of the season. The run was enough to hold off Mercer, who scored two runs in the bottom of the final frame. Belmont was again outhit, this time surrendering 12 hits while recording 10 of their own.
The Bruins will continue their conference road swing with two games at Kennesaw State tomorrow. The Owls currently lead the A-Sun with a 9-3 conference record. Kennesaw State swept the Bruins at Rose Park last season. The first game is scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. CST. Live stats, audio, and video will be available. The live stats and audio are available free of charge with links at www.belmontbruins.com. The video will be available via ASun.TV, and that link is also available online. Full recaps, schedule information, box scores and statistics are also available at www.belmontbruins.com. Fans can also follow the team on Twitter by searching @BelmontSoftball.