NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Belmont Softball extended its win streak to five consecutive games after picking up back-to-back shutouts on Saturday on day two of the Belmont/TSU Invitational. The Bruins (18-4) held off St. Bonaventure (4-10), 8-0, in five innings before recording a 5-0 shut out of Rhode Island (2-17).
The day's opening game with the Bonnies was quiet offensively for both teams until BU made a mark on the scoreboard first in the bottom of the third inning. Back-to-back walks for junior Baylee Cook (Lewisburg, Tenn.) and senior Jess Andree (Darien, Ill.) were followed by a hard single from junior Chelsea Thomas (Hot Springs, Ark.) to load the bases. Junior Hayley Baker (Rockwall, Texas) smartly used a sacrifice fly to plate the lone run of the inning and get the Bruin bats going.
The Bruins exploded in the bottom of the following frame, plating seven runs to end the contest in five innings. Freshman Cheyenne Cavanaugh (Spring, Texas) opened the door with a single before a Peyton Smothers (Benton, Ky.) walk and a fielder's choice for sophomore Bailey Sims (Flowery Branch, Ga.) nearly loaded the bases. The Bonnies used a squeeze play to take a runner away a third. However, BU made up for the temporary setback with double steals to put two runners into scoring position. They didn't have to wait long as back-to-back singles by Cook and Andree sent them over the plate. A pitching change did little to slow the Bruins as Thomas unloaded a triple to add two more runs to the Belmont tally.
A second pitching change only fired up the Bruin bats even more after a pair of walks for senior Lexi Rouse (Macon, Ga.) and Baker. Hits from freshman Elison Ollinger (Robins, Iowa), Cavanaugh and junior Sami Long (Springfield, Ill.) plated three more runs, securing the 8-0 victory.
In the nightcap versus first-time opponent Rhode Island, fiery pitcher Brooklin Lee (Burns, Tenn.) did not allow a single hit for the Rams through the first three innings. The Bruins bats, hot from their earlier tear against SBU, unloaded in the bottom of the third frame. Junior Cam Strother (Chesapeake, Va.) reached on four balls and was moved to second after a well-placed bunt by junior Taylor Hargrove (Greenbrier, Tenn.). Sims made contact with the ball but the Rams attempted for the play at the plate. However, Strother was awarded the run based on obstruction by the catcher. A quick fly out moved the runners into scoring position before a bunt by Andree saw Hargrove speed around the bases to plate another run. Rouse's turn at bat saw her knock a single deep up the middle to add two more runs. At the end of the flurry, Belmont lead, 4-0.
The Bruins would add one final insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning after a 3-up, 3-down half frame for URI. Strother singled to left to plate Rouse and seal the 5-0 win for BU.
For the day, Strother led the Bruins at the plate, batting .500 with a hit, run and an RBI. Long was perfect in her turn at the plate, going 1-for-1 with an RBI. Andree tallied pairs of hits, runs and RBIs over the two games.
Inside the circle, Lee and freshman Alicia Veltri (Clarksville, Tenn.) each tossed complete games, allowing no runs. Lee finished the day with four strikeouts while Veltri notched three.
BU returns to action on Sunday for the final game of the Belmont/TSU Invitational at Rose Park. The Bruins face off against St. Bonaventure again beginning at 12:30 p.m. Live stats will be available and the contest can be seen live on the OVC Digital Network.