Tiger Cagers

Tiger Cagers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Belmont Softball extended its win streak to five with a pair of wins over visiting crosstown rival Tennessee State on Wednesday. The Bruins (24-15, 6-6 OVC) defeated the Tigers (9-21, 2-10 OVC), 10-5 and 9-1 in five innings, at E.S. Rose Park.

In game one, the Bruins jumped on the scoreboard early, notching a run in the bottom of the opening frame, thanks to a pair of doubles by senior Hayley Baker (Rockwall, Texas) and junior Bailey Sims (Flowery Branch, Ga.) that sandwiched a walk for freshman Audrey Lyle (Westlake, Ohio).  TSU was able to squeak a single run over the plate in the tops of three consecutive innings to remain competitive and close the scoring gap to a few runs, trailing 5-3. However, the Bruins exploded in the bottom of fifth inning to surge ahead for good. Lyle reached on a passed ball and was pushed around to third base thanks to a groundout and a single. Senior Chelsea Thomas (Hot Springs, Ark.) was walked, loading the bases before sophomore Elison Ollinger (Robins, Iowa) drove a single up the middle to send one runner home and classmate Cheyenne Cavanaugh (Spring, Texas) followed with a double, clearing the bases. Senior Baylee Cook (Lewisburg, Tenn.) smacked a hard infield single to bring the half inning's run total to five and give Belmont the 10-3 advantage. Tennessee State made one last push in its half of the seventh, adding two runs but BU was able to easily roll to the 10-5 victory.

The nightcap was a similar hit parade for the Bruins. Veltri was able to maintain a no-hitter through the first four innings of play as BU posted three runs. The Tigers scored its lone run of the duel in the top of the fourth inning but the Bruins matched the effort in their half of the same. Suddenly, the Bruins surged once again, this time to the tune of five runs in the bottom of the fifth frame. Sims singled and sophomore Alicia Veltri (Clarksville, Tenn.) knocked a double to follow, putting the pair in scoring position. The Tigers made a pitching change, hoping to delay the inevitable but BU's bats refused to cool off. Ollinger was walked, loading the bases and soon the scoring merry-go-round began. Cook and Cavanaugh both singled to each score a run before a base-clearing double by Baker sealed the 9-1 win.

For the day, Cook led the Bruins at the plate, batting .625 with five hits, one double and four RBI. Sims and Cavanaugh each batted .571.

Inside the circle, the top two Bruins hurlers went the distance. Veltri earned the win in game one, fanning six batters while junior Brooklin Lee (Burns, Tenn.) logged the win in game two, recording a pair of strikeouts and allowing only one run to cross the plate.

Belmont returns to action on Friday at E.S. Rose Park, hosting Jacksonville State for a doubleheader beginning at 3:30 p.m. Live stats will be available and the contest can be seen live on ESPN+.

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