NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Belmont Softball split its next to last doubleheader of the regular season on Friday at crosstown rival Tennessee State. The Bruins (23-25, 4-16) won the opener, 2-1, before falling by the same score in the nightcap after a walk-off to the Tigers (4-47, 1-17 OVC).
Tennessee State was first to post a run, making a move in the bottom of the first inning of the first game. The second inning began but was halted due to a substantial rainstorm. After a nearly 90 minute rain delay, the teams resumed action with Belmont still at the plate. The Bruins were unable to plate a run after the break and still trailed, 1-0.
The Tigers held onto their one run advantage for two solid innings before BU busted it open in the top of the fourth frame. Senior Jess Andree (Darien, Ill.) smacked a one-out double to the left fence and was quickly moved to third base and hustled home after a throwing error that got junior Hayley Baker (Rockwall, Texas) to base. Senior Lexi Rouse (Macon, Ga.) reached on four balls to load the bases. Sophomore Brooklin Lee (Burns, Tenn.), pulling double duty in the contest, sent a single deep to left to send one over the plate, lifting BU to a 2-1 advantage.
The Bruins were able to push through the final innings and hold on for the 2-1 victory, snapping a 10-game skid.
In the nightcap, the teams were locked in a 0-0 stalemate for the first five innings of play. Belmont made its move first in the top of the sixth stanza when Rouse smashed her ninth homerun of the season to put the team on top in the runs column. The Tigers were down but rallied in their half of the same frame. Using a single and a sacrifice bunt, Tennessee State had quickly moved a runner into scoring position. A hit by pitch and a base on balls loaded the bases opening the door for a single to left to send a run home, knotting the score, 1-1.
The teams looked to be heading to extra innings after the Bruins were unable to produce a run their half of the seventh inning. However, TSU had other ideas and returned to what worked in the previous inning. Using another single and a sacrifice bunt, the Tigers started to make their move. With one out on the board, Tennessee State saw a player walked before a passed ball moved the leadoff runner to third. The trailing runner was able to steal second, putting into serious jeopardy extra innings, with now two runners threatening. Suddenly, another passed ball opened the door for the Tigers to plate the game winning run and hand them the 2-1 victory.
For the day, five Bruins notched hits – Lee, Rouse, Andree, Cook and junior Sami Long (Springfield, Ill.).
Inside the circle, Lee went the distance in game one, tallying seven strikeouts, while freshman Alicia Veltri (Clarksville, Tenn.) finished with five strikeouts.
Belmont returns to action on Sunday, May 6 with its regular season finale at Tennessee Tech. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m. Live stats will be available.