MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- A rally in the top of the seventh inning was not enough to close the gap for Belmont Softball on Wednesday evening. The Bruins were narrowly edged, 9-8, at Middle Tennessee State after a valiant comeback effort.
BU made a dent on the scoreboard first, propelled by a solo homerun by senior Jess Andree (Darien, Ill.) in the top of the first inning. However, the Blue Raiders quickly answered back and used a walk, a pair of singles and a double to take a 4-1 lead by the end of the first frame. MTSU also added another run in the bottom of the second.
In the top of the third, Andree continued her hot streak at the plate, smacking a double deep to left field to send both junior Baylee Cook (Lewisburg, Tenn.) and sophomore Bailey Sims (Flowery Branch, Ga.) over the plate. The flurry saw MT change pitchers in hopes of slowing down the Bruins, who trimmed the run differential to two runs, 5-3. The Blue Raiders answered the Bruin flurry with a solo homerun in the bottom of the same inning before posting another run in the bottom of the fourth.
The fifth inning was full of production for both teams. The Bruins went on to plate three runs after a walk for Andree and back-to-back singles for junior Chelsea Thomas (Hot Springs, Ark.) and senior Lexi Rouse (Macon, Ga.) loaded the bases. Hits by junior Hayley Baker (Rockwall, Texas) and sophomore Emily Bauersachs (Campbell Hill, Ill.) opened the floodgates before a single by sophomore Brooklin Lee (Burns, Tenn.) notched the third run of the frame to make it a two-run game, 7-5. The Blue Raiders added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Both teams were silent in the sixth frame but in the top of the seventh, the Bruins rallied once again. Baker drove a single up the middle before Bauersachs smacked her first homerun of the season over the left fence to close the gap to one run, 9-8, with two outs. Unfortunately, Belmont was unable to knot the score and force extra innings, falling by the same score.
For the day, senior Jess Andree (Darien, Ill.) went 2-for-3 at the plate with a homerun, a double and three RBI. Junior Chelsea Thomas (Hot Springs, Ark.) and sophomore Emily Bauersachs (Campbell Hill, Ill.) both went 2-for-4.
Inside the circle, the entire Bruin pitching corps saw action, with senior Lexi Rouse (Macon, Ga.), sophomore Brooklin Lee (Burns, Tenn.) and freshman Alicia Veltri (Clarksville, Tenn.) each tossed two innings, combining for three strikeouts.
Belmont returns to action on Friday, April 20. The Bruins host Murray State a few days earlier than originally scheduled to avoid weekend rain. First pitch is slated for 3 p.m. at Rose Park. Live stats will be available.