NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont Softball hosts its final non-conference tournament of the season this weekend at E.S. Rose Park. The Bruins (12-7) welcome Illinois Chicago (5-11), Purdue Fort Wayne (5-11) and Lipscomb (14-7-1) for the Belmont Invitational, March 15-17.
Illinois Chicago looking to extend its win streak after winning two of its last five outings to stand at 5-11 on the season. The Flames are led at the plate by Lexi Watts, who is batting .469 with 23 hits, three doubles, one homerun and a pair of RBI. Allie Trudeau is doing the lion's share of the work inside the circle for UIC. She has thrown 51 innings, recorded 22 strikeouts to post a 3-5 record and a 6.18 ERA.
Purdue Fort Wayne will be looking to snap a three-game skid when it comes to Nashville this weekend. The Mastodons stand at 5-11 overall. Brooke Imel leads the team at the plate, batting .344 with 11 hits, and an RBI. Morganne Denny has tallied 14 hits, two doubles, a homerun and nine RBI. Inside the circle, work is split almost evenly amongst the pitching corps. Shaina Eyre has a 3.42 ER after 43 innings pitched with 25 strikeouts. She has a 1-4 record with one save. Lauren McConnell has 39 innings of work under her belt with 21 strikeouts to the tune of a 3.77 ERA and a 3-3 record.
Although Lipscomb is a part of the tournament, Belmont will not see action against the team over the three days.
BU stands at 12-7 overall after being edged at in-state rival MTSU on Wednesday evening, 4-3, in eight innings. Belmont has five players batting over .300. The team is led at the plate by sophomore Alicia Veltri (Clarksville, Tenn.), who is batting .415, with four doubles, five homeruns and 23 RBI. Senior Hayley Baker (Rockwall, Texas) is batting .300 with 18 hits, a team-leading five doubles, four homeruns and 18 RBI.
Inside the circle, junior Brooklin Lee (Burns, Tenn.) continues to lead the Bruin pitching corps. She has an ERA of 1.69 with 56 strikeouts over 54 innings of work for a 6-2 record with a save and a pair of shutouts. Double-threat Veltri has posted a 2.14 ERA with 54 strikeouts over 49 innings for a 6-2 record and a team-leading 10 appearances.
BU begins play at the Belmont Invitational on Friday at 2 p.m., taking on Purdue Fort Wayne. On Saturday, BU plays UIC at 2:30 p.m. The tournament concludes with the Bruins facing off against UIC on Sunday at 9 a.m. and Purdue Fort Wayne at 1:30 p.m. All games will have live stats available and contests versus the Bruins can be seen on ESPN+.