BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Belmont Softball dug deep to hold off a late rally on the road at Samford Wednesday night, snapping a five-game skid. The Bruins (20-15) used a strong defensive effort late to hold off the charging Bulldogs (15-24) for the 7-6 win.
After a pair of quiet innings to open the contest, the Bruins broke it open in the top of third. Sophomore Elison Ollinger (Robins, Iowa) was hit by a pitch and was quickly moved to second base behind a single up by the middle by senior Baylee Cook (Lewisburg, Tenn.). A double to left by sophomore Cheyenne Cavanaugh (Spring, Texas) was enough to get one runner home before senior Hayley Baker (Rockwall, Texas) singled to right and a fly out junior Bailey Sims (Flowery Branch, Ga.) sent two more Bruins over the plate to the visitors ahead, 3-0.
BU's bats wasted little time to get hot once again, this time in the top of the following inning. Freshman Audrey Lyle (Westlake, Ohio) smacked her fifth homerun of the season over the left fence as Belmont continued to pile on the runs. Ollinger would knock another single and would be joined on base by Cook after a Bulldog throwing error. Back-to-back singles by sophomore Alicia Veltri (Clarksville, Tenn.) and Baker sent two more Bruins home to increase BU's lead to 6-0 by the end of the frame.
The Bruins inched dangerously close to a run rule decision in the fifth inning after posting its seventh run of the contest. Belmont saw senior Chelsea Thomas (Hot Springs, Ark.) single to left and Ollinger hit by a pitch before a long single up the middle by Cook helped a run over the plate to put BU ahead, 7-0.
Samford came completely to life in the bottom of the sixth inning posting a stunning five runs on a one-out rally while capitalizing on a pair of BU errors. Despite the Bruins making a change inside the circle to Veltri, the Bulldogs were able to get one more run over the plate to move within one, 7-6. Veltri was able to use a strikeout to end the harrowing half inning.
BU was quiet offensively in its half of the seventh, holding onto its slim 7-6 lead. The Bruins would turn up the defensive heat in the final half inning. A blistering throw from Ollinger to Thomas secured an out was bookended by a pair of strikeouts to secure the victory by the same score for Belmont.
Baker went 2-for-3 at the plate with a pair of RBI. Cook, Cavanaugh, and Lyle all went 2-for-4 at the plate.
Junior Brittany Kennett comes away with the win in the circle, posting four strikeouts. Veltri notched her first save of the season in the effort with three fanned batters.
Belmont returns to OVC action on Saturday with a trip to Morehead State. The doubleheader is slated to begin at 12:30pm CT.