NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The bats were swinging as Belmont Softball opened the home portion of its Ohio Valley Conference on Saturday afternoon at E.S. Rose Park. The Bruins (18-9, 1-1 OVC) split with visiting in-state rival UT Martin (19-11, 1-1 OVC) with game one falling to BU, 7-0, before the nightcap went the Skyhawks' way, 4-1.
After feeling each other out for the first full inning it would be Belmont that would make the first mark on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second frame. Three consecutive singles from senior Hayley Baker (Rockwall, Texs) and juniors Brooklin Lee (Burns, Tenn.) and Bailey Sims (Flowery Branch, Ga.) allowed for a groundout to send the first run over the plate. Freshman Audrey Lyle (Westlake, Ohio) was walked and her turn at the plate was followed by a double down the left line by sophomore Elison Ollinger (Robins, Iowa) scored another run. The Bruins easily maintained their 3-0 advantage until the bottom of the sixth when four more runs were posted. Lyle was finally turned loose at the plate and smashed a three-run homer over the left field fence. Senior Baylee Cook (Lewisburg, Tenn.) drove what would become her second inside the park homerun to close the inning, securing the 7-0 victory for Belmont.
In the nightcap, it would be the Skyhawks who would attack first, posting a run in the top of the first inning. BU would answer in kind with one scored in the bottom of the second frame. A double by Baker led the way for a deep single to left by Sims to send the senior home, knotting the score. The stalemate would be brief, however, as UT Martin regained the lead in the top of the third with a pair of runs scored. UTM would hold onto its 3-1 lead until the top of the sixth inning, when it added an insurance run as it went on to take the nightcap, 4-1.
For the day, Baker was on fire at the plate, batting .800 with four hits, one double and a pair of runs.
Inside the circle, sophomore Alicia Veltri (Clarksville, Tenn.) picked up her second shutout of the season with the 7-0 victory in game one. The second game saw Lee and classmate Brittany Kennett (Melbourne, Australia) shared time, combining for a pair of strikeouts.
Belmont returns to action on Sunday at Rose Park, hosting Southeast Missouri State for a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. Live stats will be available and the contests can be seen live on ESPN+.