NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Belmont (8-28, 3-7 A-Sun) fell in both games of Saturday's doubleheader with Lipscomb. The Bruins lost game one close, 0-1, but fell in five innings in game two, 0-9.
Game one was a pitching duel between sophomore Mia Vierra and Lipscomb's Whitney Kiihnl. Kiihnl, an all-conference performer for the Bisons, had 11 strikeouts in the game, while Vierra posted four of her own. Vierra gave up five hits, but surrendered only one run, an unearned score in the top of the seventh that gave Lipscomb the lead. The game was tied through 6.2 innings of play before Lipscomb got a break with two runners on when freshman Amanda Criscione had a costly error in left field that allowed the runner to score. Belmont attempted to rally in the bottom of the inning when senior Stacy Cook, in the game as a pinch hitter, drew a leadoff walk. Criscione came on to run for Cook and the Bruins had the tying run on first with no outs. A failed sacrifice bunt attempt gave Lipscomb the first out of the inning. Criscione was caught stealing second for the second out, leaving Mia Vierra at the plate with two outs and no runners on. Vierra drew a walk, bringing up catcher Kim Johnson. Johnson hit a sharp line drive toward second that was fielding by Lipscomb's Kelsey Cartwright on a leaping catch, robbing Johnson of the base hit and ending the game.
Belmont's tough luck behind the plate continued in game two, as the Bruins struggled to find the gaps with several hard hit balls that were fielded by Lipscomb. The Bisons seemed to find every gap, posting five runs in the top of the third inning alone, including two on a home run. Lipscomb added another run and one more solo home run in the top of the fifth to pull ahead, 0-9. Belmont managed only five hits in the game and stranded five baserunners, while Lipscomb recorded five hits and also left five runners on base. Vierra continued a solid individual outing with a hit in game two. Senior Ashley Byers, Belmont's offensive leader, also recorded a hit after a frustrating game one that saw her go hitless and record only one walk. Sophomore Ashley Hammer, senior Stacy Cook and junior Courtney Elrod also recorded hits for the Bruins.
Belmont returns to action next Wednesday with their final non-conference series of the season when they host another cross-town opponent in Tennessee State. Beginning next season, the two teams will meet as conference opponents, after Belmont joins the Ohio Valley Conference. The first game of the doubleheader is scheduled for 4 p.m. The series will close out an eight-game homestand for the Bruins as Belmont heads to Georgia to face Mercer and Kennesaw State in Atlantic Sun conference play next weekend. All schedule information, as well as live stats, full recaps, season statistics and more is available at www.belmontbruins.com.