NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Belmont University Softball opened its inaugural Bruin Classic on Friday afternoon at E.S. Rose Park with a pair of contests. The Bruins (8-3) were held off by Butler (3-7), 3-0, before rebounding with a 5-0 victory over North Carolina A&T (2-9) in the nightcap.
Game one saw the Bulldogs jump out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning and never look back. BU's first good attempt at making a mark on the scoreboard came in the bottom of the third frame. Sophomore Bailey Sims (Flowery Branch, Ga.) singled to right and was followed by a single up the middle by junior Baylee Cook (Lewisburg, Tenn.). Unfortunately, the pair was eventually stranded thanks to a strong defensive effort by Butler.
The Bulldogs posted a single insurance run in the top of the seventh inning and the Bruins dug in their heels in the critical bottom of the same frame. Freshman Cheyenne Cavanaugh (Spring, Texas) hit a hard single towards third base and was pushed to second base behind a base on balls effort for Sims. Cook sent a single screaming towards third to load the bases. However, the Bruins were unable to plate the baserunners and went on to fall, 3-0, marking the first time this season BU was kept off the scoreboard during a contest.
Belmont returned to form in the nightcap versus the Aggies. The Bruins notched its first runs of the duel in the bottom of the second inning. Junior Hayley Baker (Rockwall, Texas) got things started with a single toward second base and hustled to third behind a single deep to right field by junior Taylor Hargrove (Greenbrier, Tenn.). A blooper hit into the gap by junior Cam Strother (Cheapeake, Va.) added one run before a sacrifice fly by Sims posted a second. BU's defensive effort kept North Carolina off the board over the next two frames.
The Bruins added insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth frame, thanks to a three-run homer by senior Lexi Rouse (Macon, Ga.). Aided by a standout pitching performance by sophomore Brooklin Lee (Burns, Tenn.), BU was able to hold on for its third shutout of the season, 5-0.
For the day, Baker led BU at the plate, batting .500 with three hits. Rouse netted three RBI with her home run heroics while classmate Jess Andree (Darien, Ill.) added a triple.
Inside the circle, Lee logged a complete game en route to recording her fifth win of the season after ringing up 11 strikeouts. Freshman Alicia Veltri (Clarksville, Tenn.) also notched a complete game and finished with eight strikeouts.
Belmont returns to action on Saturday for day two of the Bruin Classic. The team's first game is at 12:15 p.m. against Northern Iowa, followed by North Carolina A&T at 2:30 p.m.