COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Thanks to the game two defensive heroics of junior Sami Long (Springfield, Ill.) and a solo shot by classmate Chelsea Thomas (Hot Springs, Ark.), Belmont Softball escaped with a split on the road Sunday afternoon. The Bruins (21-11, 2-6 OVC) fell in the first game, 3-0, but rebounded in the nightcap for a 1-0 win.
In the seven inning pitchers' duel, the Golden Eagles posted a run on the scoreboard first in the bottom of the opening inning after a wild pitch and leaned on the combination of strong defense and pitching to keep the Bruins from returning the favor through the contest. TTU went on to add two more runs in the bottom of the fourth after a wild pitch to take a 3-0 lead.
Sophomore Brooklin Lee (Burns, Tenn.) fanned nine batters in the effort, including retiring six consecutive batters at one point.
BU made a last gasp in the top of the seventh and managed to get a pair of runners into scoring position. Back-to-back singles to opposite sides of the field by freshmen Elison Ollinger (Robins, Iowa) and Cheyenne Cavanaugh (Spring, Texas) opened the door with two outs already on the board. Unfortunately, the Bruins were unable to get a run over the plate and fell by the same score, 3-0.
The nightcap also proved to be another pitching duel between the programs with neither able to plate a run. Belmont even managed to keep the Golden Eagles from recording a hit through five innings of play.
The Bruins had a strong scoring opportunity in the top of the sixth inning but a suicide squeeze for the third out kept them off the board but the attempt only delayed the inevitable.
Long defensively stayed on fire through the bottom of the sixth. With two outs on the board, she made a fully extended diving stop just behind second base and somehow managed to underhand flip it to senior Jess Andree (Darien, Ill.) in time to end the inning with a tag.
In the top of the seventh, junior Chelsea Thomas (Hot Springs, Ark.) delivered a solo shot over the centerfield fence to break the 0-0 stalemate and put the Bruins on top. Belmont turned to freshman Alicia Veltri (Clarksville, Tenn.) inside the circle to seal the deal in the final half inning. She delivered, notching back-to-back strikeouts after a pop-up fielded by Andree to take the game, 1-0.
For the day, freshman Cheyenne Cavanaugh led BU at the plate, going 2-for-3.
Inside the circle, sophomore Brooklin Lee (Burns, Tenn.) went the distance in game one, logging nine strikeouts. Veltri notched her second shutout of the season and fanned a season-high nine batters in the win.
Belmont returns to action on Tuesday, April 10, returning to E.S. Rose Park. The Bruins host in-state rival Middle Tennessee State for a single game beginning at 6 p.m. Live stats will be available.