NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Belmont (11-34, 5-9 A-Sun) hosts two Atlantic Sun opponents this weekend as the Bruins close out the regular season. ETSU and USC Upstate pay their first visit to E.S. Rose Park with Belmont taking on ETSU on Friday, with the first game 4 p.m. and then hosting USC Upstate for Senior Day on Saturday, with the first game at 5 p.m.
At a Glance
Belmont enters the weekend mathematically still alive in the race for a spot in the conference tournament. The Bruins will look to control their own destiny as they host ETSU and USC Upstate over Commencement weekend. Belmont fell in its midweek contest to Southeast Missouri, a future Ohio Valley Conference opponent. Last season, the Bruins were swept by both the Buccanneers and the Spartans. The team will need continued solid performances from senior Ashley Byers, the Bruins offensive leader, and from sophomore pitcher Mia Vierra, Belmont's most dominating pitcher in conference play.
East Tennessee State enters the weekend with an opportunity to play a spoiler role against the Bruins. The Bucs have only one conference win and are well out of the race for a tournament spot, but are in prime position to wreak havoc on the rest of the field with games against Belmont and Lipscomb this weekend. ETSU is, like Belmont, 11-34 on the season, and paced by Casey Horner with a .323 batting average and pitcher Katie Wolff with a 3.65 ERA.
The Spartans have spent most of the season ranked in the Mid-Major Top 25 poll, checking in at number 17 this week. Upstate is currently alone in third place in the conference and looking to lock up a spot in the tournament with this weekend's road swing. The Spartans are led by Shellie Robinson with a .394 batting average. Robinson leads seven Spartans who all hit .300 or above. Defensively, Upstate replaced all-conference stand out Morgan Childers with ace Hannah Alexander who leads the team with a 1.60 ERA and a 24-5 record in the circle this season. Upstate is currently 36-10 in 2012, with a 9-5 record in conference play.
Conference Wrap-Up: Another Sweep for Belmont
Belmont's last conference outing was a disappointing sweep by league-leader Kennesaw State in Kennesaw, Ga., last weekend. Prior to the pair of losses on Sunday, the Bruins picked up their second conference sweep of the season with two critical wins over Mercer that kept the Bruins in the race for the postseason.
The Bruins wrapped up their non-conference schedule with a pair of tough losses on the road at Southeast Missouri on Wednesday. The first game was a 3-5 loss, followed by a marathon game two that lasted 10 innings and saw the Bruins put up a season-high 13 runs. Belmont ultimately lost 13-14.
Links to livestats are available at www.belmontbruins.com, along with full recaps, box scores, season statistics and all schedule information. Fans can also follow the team on Twitter via @BelmontSoftball.