HAMMOND, La. -- Despite strong starts in both outings, the Belmont Softball team (1-2) was unable to hold on for late victories on the second day of the SELA Lion Classic. The Bruins were narrowly held off 4-3 by first-time opponent Texas A&M Corpus Christi (2-3) before another close loss, this time to host-Southeastern Louisiana (6-0), 6-5 in eight innings.
Game one saw BU jump out to an early lead, posting a run in the top of the first inning, thanks to a triple by senior Lexi Rouse (Macon, Ga.) that sent classmate Jess Andree (Darien, Ill.) over the plate. Belmont held onto its one run advantage until the bottom of the fifth when the Islanders added two runs to take the lead. The Bruins bounced back added a single run in the top of the following half inning. Junior Chelsea Thomas (Hot Springs, Ark.) doubled to center, opening the door for a sacrifice fly by junior Hayley Baker (Rockwall, Texas) to add a run.
Belmont hoped to add an insurance run in the top of the seventh behind a double by Rouse but TAMUCC fired back in the crucial bottom of the seventh. The Islanders knotted the score 3-3 and went on to push what would become the gamewinner over the plate with a pair of singles.
Work inside the circle was split between Rouse and newcomer Alicia Veltri (Clarksville, Tenn.), who combined for seven strikeouts.
In the Bruins' nightcap against host Southeastern Louisiana, they once again struck first on the scoreboard, notching a run in the top of the first inning, thanks to a single by Thomas. Not to be outdone on their home field, the Lions answered back with a single run in their half of the same inning. The teams remained stalemated until the sixth inning. SELA rang up four runs in the bottom of that inning before BU roared back in the top of the seventh.
Back-to-back walks for freshman Elison Ollinger (Robins, Iowa) and Sims were followed by an opportunity to load the bases after junior Baylee Cook (Lewisburg, Tenn.) was hit by a pitch. Andree unloaded her first grand slam of the season to knot the score 5-5, forcing an eighth and deciding inning. Belmont was unable to put a run across in their half of the inning, stranding a pair of runners. Southeastern Louisiana went to work quickly in the bottom half of the inning. A sac bunt advanced the placed runner on third before an infield single scored the gamewinner to put the Lions on top, 6-5.
Freshman Elison Ollinger (Robins, Iowa) went 1-for-1 while Andree posted a game-high four RBI, thanks to her first grand slam of the season.
Sophomore Brooklin Lee (Burns, Tenn.) tossed all eight innings, tallying eight strikeouts inside the circle.
BU returns to action on Sunday for the final day of the SELA Lion Classic, taking on Detroit at 10 a.m. before a rematch against Texas A&M Corpus Christi at Noon. Live stats will be available for both contests. The matchup with the Titans will have video available for a subscription fee.