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Almost Turned the Tide

Almost Turned the Tide

CULLMAN, Ala. -- Belmont University Softball nearly pulled off its biggest upset in the Division I era on the road Tuesday night. The Bruins (26-19) used a late surge to nearly topple No. 3 Alabama (46-4) in the Clash at Cullman neutral site game. The Crimson Tide were able to hold on for the 6-4 win.

The Bruins cancelled the idea of a no hitter in the top half of the opening inning, thanks to a 2-out single up the middle by freshman Audrey Lyle (Westlake, Ohio).  She pushed senior Hayley Baker (Rockwall, Texas) to second base with her hit. Unfortunately, neither was able to get around the bases to score. The Crimson Tide took an early lead in their half of the same frame, using a wild pitch to send a runner home. However, junior Brooklin Lee (Burns, Tenn.) fanned three consecutive batters to end the inning.

Alabama went on to post a pair of runs in the bottom of the second inning and expanded its lead to 5-0 with a trio of runners crossing the plate in its half of the third. In the top of the fourth frame, Belmont started aggressively at the plate. Lyle and junior Bailey Sims (Flowery Branch, Ga.) knocked back-to-back singles to open their half of the frame.  Sophomore Alicia Veltri (Clarksville, Tenn.) loaded the bases for the Bruins with a single up the middle. However, the Crimson Tide used force outs to keep BU from crossing the plate.

The Bruins had another scoring opportunity in the top of the sixth frame. Lyle reaches on four balls and was moved to second base on a wild pitch. Lee was hit by a pitch and senior Chelsea Thomas (Hot Springs, Ark.) loaded the bases with a 2-out walk. However, BU was unable to get any of them over the plate as a pop up ended the late surge. Alabama was able to add one more run to take a 6-0 lead.

BU was finally able to make a dent on the scoreboard in the top of the seventh. Sophomore Cheyenne Cavanaugh (Spring, Texas) was walked and was pushed to second base with a single to right by senior Baylee Cook (Lewisburg, Tenn.). Baker followed with a double to left to send Belmont's first run over the plate.  The runs continued to roll in for the Bruins as a groundout sent another runner over the plate. Suddenly Lee unleashed a 2-out two-run homerun to left to move BU within striking distance, 6-4.  However, that would be as close as the visitors would come, falling by the same score with the third out recorded.

For the day, Lyle batted .667 going 2-for-3 at the plate while Cook batted .500 going 2-for-4. 

Inside the circle, Lee and Veltri split time, combining for eight strikeouts.

Belmont returns to action on Saturday with a stop on the road at Eastern Illinois for a doubleheader. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. Live stats will be available and an audiocast will also be available.