NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont softball (22-17, 3-9) dropped a pair of close games against Murray State (12-30, 2-10) Friday evening inside E.S. Rose Park. The Bruins fell, 1-0, in the first game before getting edged, 4-3, after a Racer comeback in the final matchup.
Sophomore hurler Brooklin Lee (Burns, Tenn.) dazzled in the circle, firing 10 strikeouts in a complete game outing. She held the Racers scoreless for the first five frames, only relinquishing two hits in that span. She was aided by stellar defensive performances behind her as well.
While Lee shined, Murray State's starting pitcher Haven Campbell also found a way to keep the Bruins bats at bay, only giving up one hit in seven complete innings of work. She only allowed two baserunners all afternoon.
Freshman Alicia Veltri (Clarksville, Tenn.) halted Campbell's no-hit bid in the top of the third after ripping a double to deep center field. Veltri's hit had a good chance of exiting the ballpark had the wind not been blowing in. The rookie would go on to be stranded on second as the Bruins continued to struggle to get their bats going.
Lee's efficient pitching continued into the top of the fourth where she registered her second consecutive three up, three down frame. The Burns, Tenn. product retired seven Racers in a row to leave the game scoreless at the midway point.
The Bruins once again tried to get something going in the fifth after a leadoff walk helped Lexi Rouse (Macon, Ga.) get on for Baylee Cook (Lewisburg, Tenn.) to advance her to scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. However, BU came up short as Campbell got the next two batters to go down swinging.
Murray State's Macey Hale ended the pitchers dual in the top of the sixth with a leadoff home run that she dropped over the centerfield fence. Lee had retired nine of the previous 10 batters she had faced, but Hale let one ride to tally the first, and only, run by either team. The Racers would go on to house runners on second and third, but Lee got out of the jam after inducing a two-out groundout to second base.
The Racers tried to extend their advantage in the top of the seventh after a single and Belmont error put a runner on second. Erica Downey would get as far as third before Lee tossed her 10thstrikeout of the day to keep BU within one heading into the home half of the final frame. Belmont was unable to erase the deficit, falling, 1-0, in the first game against Murray State.
Despite her double-digit strikeout performance, Lee earned the loss to bring her record to 12-8 on the year.
The Bruins quickly made up for the shortage of runs in the first game by plating a pair in the opening frame. Bailey Sims (Flowery Branch, Ga.) led things off with a standup double on the second pitch of the game. Senior third baseman Jess Andree (Darien, Ill.) followed up Sims' two-bagger with a long ball of her own to put BU up, 2-0, before Belmont had even registered an out.
A leadoff walk followed up by a catching error put Racers on second and third in the top of the second, but rookie hurler Veltri was unfazed. She struck out the next three consecutive batters to get out of the jam unscathed and keep BU's 2-0 advantage intact.
Andree continued to tack on the runs for Belmont, recording her third RBI in just her second at bat of the game. The Darien, Ill. product laced a single up the middle with runners on the corner to tack on BU's third run of the night, going up, 3-0.
Murray State got a run back in the top of the third courtesy of a RBI base shot to right field from Madison Culver. The Racers went on to tack on two more runs and tie it up, 3-3, in the fifth on another right field single from Lillie Goetz.
After hanging up a trio of runs in the first couple if innings the Bruins fell into a slump, allowing Murray State to claw their way back into the game. The Racers used a bases loaded walk in the sixth to take their first lead of the game, 4-3.
The Bruins threatened in the home half of the sixth with runners on the corners, but couldn't convert after a couple of fielder's choice plays ended the frame. The squad halted the Racers from tacking on any additional runs in the top of the seventh with a pair of clutch plays.
Belmont was unable to come back in the final frame, dropping game two, 4-3.