ATHENS, Ga. -- Another rain soaked day at the Georgia Classic saw Belmont Softball (6-3) earn a split on Saturday. The Bruins fell to No. 8 Georgia (12-1) before rallying to knock off Bryant (0-9) for a second time this weekend, 5-1.
UGA jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning and never looked back. The Dawgs seemed to be inching closer and closer to a no hitter after posting three additional runs over the course of the third and fourth innings. Finally, the Bruins were able to dig deep and begin to threaten their first ranked opponent of the season. Senior Sami Long (Springfield, Ill.) reached first base on four balls and classmate Baylee Cook (Lewisburg, Tenn.) singled through the left side to break the no hitter. A passed ball moved the pair into scoring position before junior Bailey Sims (Flowery Branch, Ga.) smacked a single to right. Belmont attempted to get another runner over the plate but she was thrown out at home, holding Belmont to a one run half inning. Unfortunately, that would be as close as BU would come as Georgia recorded two more runs in their half of the same frame to secure the 8-1 win.
Belmont was able to rebound and fast in the nightcap against Bryant, posting a pair of runs in the top of the first inning, thanks to Hayley Baker (Rockwall, Texas), who knocked a long single to score Cook and sophomore Alicia Veltri (Clarksville, Tenn.), who then used a sacrifice fly to plate Baker. The Bulldogs dashed BU's shot at a no-hitter in the bottom of the third inning when it logged what would become its lone run of the contest. With Bryant threatening, the Bruins posted insurance runs in the tops of the fifth and sixth innings to take a 5-1 lead. In the fifth, Sims singled and Baker followed with a double to put them in scoring position. A Bryant fielding error placed senior Chelsea Thomas (Hot Springs, Ark.) on first, loading the bases. Veltri's turn at-bat ended with her walking in a run before the Bulldogs worked to tag out a pair of runners heading for home. In the sixth, back-to-back singles from Cook and Sims opened the door for hits from Baker and Thomas to send them home. Veltri turned up the heat in the final frame, firing back-to-back strikeouts as Belmont clamped down to hold on for its 5-1 victory.
For the day, Sims led the Bruins at plate, batting .429 after going 3-for-7 with two runs and an RBI. Junior Brooklin Lee (Burns, Tenn.) went the distance inside the circle against Georgia, recording three strikeouts. Veltri posted a career-high 13 strikeouts versus Bryant to come away with her third win of the season.
Belmont returns to action on Sunday for the final day of the 16th annual Georgia Classic. The Bruins take on No. 8 Georgia once more, beginning at 10:30 am ET. Live stats will be available and the game can be seen live on SECNetwork+.