NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Belmont Softball was heavy on the hits side as it finally began play on its home field on Friday to open the 2019 Bruin Classic. BU (8-4) picked up a win in extra innings over Northern Kentucky (3-6) before notching a 9-0 shutout of Alabama A&M (8-6) in the nightcap.
The Norse were the first to score in game one, posting a pair of runs in the top of the second inning. The Bruins fired back in the bottom of the third frame to grab a narrow lead. Junior Brooklin Lee (Burns, Tenn.) was hit by a pitch and then stole second to get the half inning rolling. A bunt by senior Cameryn Strother (Chesapeake, Va.) put runners on the corners before sophomore Alicia Veltri (Clarksville, Tenn.) drove a single into the left gap to send a runner home. BU went on to load the bases with senior Hayley Baker's (Rockwall, Texas) effort at the plate and a walk for sophomore Cheyenne Cavanaugh (Spring, Texas). Junior Bailey Sims (Flowery Branch, Ga.) unloaded a double to push two more runs over the plate and put BU ahead, 3-2. However, the lead was short lived as NKU went on to knot the score in the top of the fifth.
Belmont regained the lead in the bottom of the sixth, thanks to a wild pitch but Northern Kentucky added runs in its half of the seventh to knot the score once again, this time at 4-4, to force only the second extra inning game for BU. The Norse posted what they hoped might become the game winner in their half of the eighth inning but the Bruins' bats remained hot. Using international tiebreaker rules, Sims was placed on second before being quickly moved to third base behind a sacrifice bunt by senior Chelsea Thomas (Hot Springs, Ark.). A single to left from freshman Audrey Lyle (Westlake, Ohio) was enough to send her home, knotting the score, 5-5. Lee dropped a bunt that the Norse struggled to field, putting runners on the corners before senior Baylee Cook (Lewisburg, Tenn.) left her own bunt spinning in the dirt to send the winning run over the plate to secure the 6-5 win.
The nightcap was all Belmont from the opening pitch. The Bruins recorded runs in the bottom of the second and third innings and did not look back. In the bottom of the fourth frame, BU exploded for four runs and added three more in the bottom of the fifth to put the game away for good with the run-rule in effect to secure the 9-0 victory.
For the day, senior Hayley Baker (Rockwall, Texas) led the Bruins at the plate, batting .429 with a homerun, a double and three RBI.
Inside the circle, junior Brooklin Lee (Burns, Tenn.) notched a shutout, fanning 10 Alabama A&M batters. Sophomore Alicia Veltri (Clarksville, Tenn.) tallied seven strikeouts in her first extra innings game of the season versus NKU.
Belmont returns to action on Saturday for day two of the Bruin Classic. The Bruins will take on Dayton at 12:15 p.m., followed by Alabama A&M at 2:30 p.m. Both contests will have live stats available and can be seen on ESPN+.