NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Belmont Softball picked up another split on the opening weekend of Ohio Valley Conference play. On Sunday, the Bruins (19-10, 2-2 OVC) split with visiting Southeast Missouri State (25-8, 3-1 OVC) at Rose Park. The Redhawks narrowly took game one, 3-2, before BU took complete control in the nightcap, winning 7-0.
SEMO jumped out to an early lead in the first game, posting a run in the top of the first and third innings. The Redhawks even held on to a no-hitter through five frames before the Bruins sprang to life. Freshman Audrey Lyle (Westlake, Ohio) and sophomore Elison Ollinger (Robins, Iowa) smashed back-to-back solo homeruns to make a huge dent in the Southeast Missouri State lead. SEMO immediately changed pitchers hoping to cool the bats of BU but the home team still managed to get a runner into scoring position. However, the Redhawks were finally able to collect the third out, briefly slowing the Bruin rally. In the top of the seventh inning, Southeast Missouri answered back, with what would become the gamewinner in a solo homerun to secure the narrow 3-2 win.
The nightcap, conversely, was all Belmont from the first pitch. Sophomore Alicia Veltri (Clarksville, Tenn.) struck out the first four batters consecutively, as BU took an early 1-0 lead, thanks to a two-run homerun from Lyle, her fourth of the season. A single by senior Hayley Baker (Rockwall, Texas) sent two more Bruins over the plate to hand Belmont a 5-0 lead. Fueled by Veltri's strong pitching, BU kept pounding, going on to add two more runs in the bottom of the fifth frame with a long single by senior Chelsea Thomas (Hot Springs, Ark.). Despite a pair of pitching changes for Southeast Missouri State, the Bruins remained undaunted and continued to work toward their sixth shutout of the season that would spell the end of a 15-game win streak for the visitors. Belmont made quick work of the final three outs in the top of the seventh to take the contest, 7-0.
For the day, Ollinger led at the plate, batting .500 with two hits, including a homerun.
Belmont returns to action next weekend with its first road trip for OVC play. The Bruins will make a stop at Austin Peay on Friday before traveling to Murray State for a pair on Sunday.