MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Belmont Softball picked up a pair of wins to open the UofM Tournament on Friday. The Bruins (11-5) easily defeated Indiana State (8-8), 7-2, before using a homerun in extra innings to knock off IUPUI (5-16), 3-2.
The Bruins jumped on the board after both teams posted quiet outings through the first two innings of play. In the third frame, junior Brooklin Lee (Burns, Tenn.) smashed a solo homerun over the left wall to notch the first run of the day for BU. However, the Sycamores were able to knot the score in bottom of the same inning. After adding one run in the top of the fourth, BU exploded in the top of the fifth inning, pushing three runs across to take a 5-1 lead.
Even with a pitching change in the inning, ISU struggled to contain Belmont that saw a single from Lee and back-to-back doubles from seniors Cam Strother (Chesapeake, Va.) and Baylee Cook (Lewisburg, Tenn.) expand the run differential before a single to right by Veltri sent the third Bruin over the plate. Indiana State managed to squeak what would become their final run of the contest over the plate in the bottom of the fifth. However, BU was not finished scoring. In the top of the seventh, a single up the middle by sophomore Cheyenne Cavanaugh (Spring, Texas) opened the door for a double by Veltri and back-to-back singles from junior Bailey Sims (Flowery Branch, Ga.) and freshman Audrey Lyle (Westlake, Ohio) to help add two more runs to the Bruins' tally as they went on to take the game, 7-2.
The second game of the day was stalemated 0-0 for the first four innings until the Bruins were able to post a pair of runs in the top of fifth. Senior Chelsea Thomas (Hot Springs, Ark.) sent a solo homerun over the left wall before classmate Taylor Hargrove (Greenbrier, Tenn.) singled and stole second, allowing a double by Cook to send her over the plate. IUPUI pushed back in the bottom of the sixth adding two runs and forcing the game to be decided in extra innings. Belmont wasted little time in the top of the eighth. Sophomore Alicia Veltri (Clarksville, Tenn.) knocked a solo home run to give BU the slim one run advantage in the top of the eighth. She also ended the ISU half of the same inning with back-to-back strikeouts to secure the 3-2 victory.
For the day, Veltri went 5-for-8 at the plate with a pair of doubles and a homerun.
Inside the circle, both Lee and Veltri went the distance to pick up wins in their respective games. Lee fanned five Indiana State batters while Veltri tallied seven strikeouts.
Belmont returns to action on Saturday for day two of the UofM Tournament, taking on host-Memphis beginning at 8 p.m. Live stats and video will be available.