NASHVILLE< Tenn. -- Belmont University Softball opened its final home non-conference tournament of the season with a commanding win on Friday afternoon. The Bruins (13-7) defeated Purdue Fort Wayne (5-12), 8-1, to open the Belmont Invitational.
The first frame was silent for both teams before BU posted a pair of runs in the bottom of the second. Senior Hayley Baker (Rockwall, Texas) reached first base on four balls and was quickly sent over the plate behind the first triple of the season for junior Brooklin Lee (Burns, Tenn.). A groundout also sent Lee over the plate to put BU ahead, 2-0. The Mastodons cut the score in half in their half of the third. However, Belmont remained in control for the remainder of the contest.
In the bottom of the fourth and fifth innings, Belmont added a single run to increase its score to 4-1. Purdue Fort Wayne continued to threaten but the Bruin defense held them at bay. BU exploded in the bottom of the sixth, tallying four more runs. Sophomore Cheyenne Cavanaugh (Spring, Texas) reached first base with a walk and hustled to third base after a Mastodon throwing error failed to tag out senior Cameryn Strother. Senior Baylee Cook (Lewisburg, Tenn.) unleashed a double that sent one run over the plate before sophomore Alicia Veltri (Clarksville, Tenn.) was walked to load the bases. Belmont started a merry-go-round that saw two walks and a hit by pitch score more runs, pushing the home team to the brink of run-ruled victory. However, the Bruins emerged from the half inning leading 8-1 and clamped down defensively, using a striikeout from Lee to end the game and secure the victory by the same score.
For the day, Lee was perfect at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a triple and an RBI.
Lee also went the distance inside the circle, logging 10 strikeouts in the win.
BU returns to action on Saturday at the Belmont Invitational at E. S. Rose Park. The Bruins face off against UIC beginning at 2:30 p.m. Live stats will be available and the contest can be seen live on ESPN+.