Splitsville

Splitsville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Belmont Softball pulled off its first win over Jacksonville State since 2015 and nearly completed a sweep on Friday afternoon at E.S. Rose Park. The Bruins (25-15, 7-7 OVC) shutout the Gamecocks (26-12, 10-4 OVC) in a five inning outing in game one, 8-0, before being edged down the stretch in the nightcap, 7-5.

In the first contest, BU was the first to make a mark on the scoreboard, posting runs in the bottom of the second frame. Senior Hayley Baker (Rockwall, Texas) was able to walk in a run and freshman Audrey Lyle (Westlake, Ohio) smashed a long single to right to send two more Bruins over the plate. In the third innning, junior Bailey Sims (Flowery Branch, Ga.) reached first base after a Gamecock fielding error and then notched back-to-back steals to get into scoring position. Sophomore Alicia Veltri (Clarksville, Tenn.) walked, putting runners on the corners before a long single by sophomore Elison Ollinger (Robins, Iowa) sent them both home. In the fourth inning, back-to-back singles by senior Baylee Cook (Lewisburg, Tenn.) and Baker opened the door for a sacrifice fly by Lyle to put runners in scoring position. A passed ball saw Cook sneak over the plate to bring the Belmont run total to six. With a run rule victory in their sights, the Bruins did not let up in the fifth frame and used a walk off triple from Cook to secure the 8-0 win.

The nightcap was a complete reversal of fortune for the Bruins. Jacksonville State was the first to post runs in the tops of the first two innings to jump out to a 6-0 lead, fueled by a grand slam. JSU was able to hold on to its lead through an inning and a half until Belmont exploded in the bottom of the fourth frame. A leadoff triple by Veltri had her joined on the corner by junior Brooklin Lee (Burns, Tenn.), who was hit by a pitch. The Bruins went on to load the bases and saw runs pushed over the plate when sophomore Cheyenne Cavanaugh (Spring, Texas) was hit by pitch and a double up the middle by Baker that notched three more. The flurry made it one run game, 6-5. However, JSU was able to tally a single run in the top of the fifth frame and used that to hold on for the 7-5 victory.

For the day, both Baker and Veltri batted .500. Baker recorded three hits, one double and four RBI while Veltri had a triple.

Inside the circle, Veltri tossed a complete game and recorded seven strikeouts. Juniors Brooklin Lee (Burns, Tenn.) and Brittany Kennett (Melbourne, Australia) combined for eight strikeouts in the nightcap.

Belmont returns to action on Sunday, hosting in-state rival Tennessee Tech for a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. Live stats will be available and the contests can be seen live on ESPN+.