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Held Off by the 'Hawks

Held Off by the 'Hawks

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.-- Rallies in both games of a doubleheader on the road for Belmont Softball fell shy on Sunday afternoon.  The Bruins (22-22, 3-13 OVC) were held off by Southeast Missouri State (33-18, 15-7 OVC), being edged in game one, 3-2, before seeing a late rally not be enough in a 4-1 decision in the nightcap.

After a quiet opening inning for both teams, the Bruins were the first to strike on the scoreboard in the top of the second inning.  Senior Lexi Rouse (Macon, Ga.) doubled to right and had freshman Elison Ollinger (Robins, Iowa) come in to pinch run.  She was pushed to third on a ground out before stealing home to notch the first run of the contest.  However, the Redhawks were able to answer back and used a long double to post a pair of runs and take the lead.

The Bruins continued to fight.  In the top of third frame, back-to-back doubles down the right and then the left line put sophomore Bailey Sims (Flowery Branch, Ga.) and junior Baylee Cook (Lewisburg, Tenn.) into scoring position.  A sacrifice fly by senior Jess Andree (Darien, Ill.) sent Sims over the plate to help BU knot the score, 2-2. 

In the nightcap, the teams were once again silent in the first inning.  The Redhawks managed to load the bases with two outs and walked in a run to take the early 1-0 lead.  A long single to left added two more runs and freshman Alicia Veltri (Clarksville, Tenn.) was pulled into the circle to keep BU in the game.  She was able to post a couple of strikeouts to close the half inning and keep the score within reach, 3-0.

Southeast Missouri State picked up another run in the bottom of the fourth frame to start to put distance between the teams.  Despite getting runners into scoring position, Belmont was unable to get anyone over the plate down the stretch. 

The Bruins dug in their collective heels in the top of the seventh inning.  Junior Chelsea Thomas (Hot Springs, Ark.) sent the ball screaming down the left line and in between the legs of the third baseman to spark her teammates.  Classmate Hayley Baker (Rockwall, Texas) followed with a hard hit ball to left that was dropped by the outfielder.  Freshman Georgia McKee (Frisco, Texas) kept the late rally going with a double to left, plating what would become Belmont's first and lone run of the contest.  Unfortunately, the Southeast Missouri State defense turned up the heat to bring in the final two outs, securing its 4-1 victory.

McKee led the Bruins at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI.  Cook and Rouse also notched doubles.

Inside the circle, the entire pitching corps saw action in the doubleheader.  Sophomore Brooklin Lee (Burns, Tenn.) went the distance in game one and racked up eight strikeouts.  In the nightcap, Rouse and Veltri split time, combining for six strikeouts. 

Belmont returns to action on Wednesday, May 2 on the road at Eastern Kentucky for a rescheduled doubleheader.  First pitch is slated for 3 p.m.  Live stats will be available.