NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Belmont Softball dropped its final two regular season games of the season at home on Thursday evening. The Bruins (30-21, 12-10 OVC), who recently secured a spot in the 2019 OVC Tournament, fell at E.S. Rose Park to Eastern Kentucky (30-18, 16-6 OVC), 10-2, and 10-1, in a pair of five inning duels.
BU struggled to find an offensive rhythm throughout the first game. The Colonels jumped out to a 10-0 run by the midpoint of the third frame, despite a pitching change made for the home team. The Bruins were finally able to keep EKU from scoring in the top of the fourth inning, thanks in part to junior Brooklin Lee's (Burns, Tenn.) return to the circle. In Belmont's half of the same inning, a leadoff double from senior Baylee Cook (Lewisburg, Tenn.) was enough to spark her teammates. Freshman Audrey Lyle (Westlake, Ohio) smashed her seventh homerun of the season to send them both over the plate and bring BU to within eight runs, 10-2. Unfortunately, the Bruins were unable to get additional runners home and fell by the same score.
The Colonels jumped out to another early lead in the second game of the day. By the midpoint of the third inning, EKU was ahead, 5-0. In Belmont's half of the same frame, the home team appeared poised to make a move. Senior Taylor Hargrove (Greenbrier, Tenn.) notched a leadoff walk and was moved to second base with a base on balls effort for classmate Cameryn Strother (Chesapeake, Va.). Senior Hayley Baker (Rockwall, Texas) reached first base with the help of an EKU error, loading the bases and classmate Chelsea Thomas (Hot Springs, Ark.) used a sacrifice fly to send one runner home. Eastern Kentucky matched Belmont's effort and sent a runner over the plate in the top of the fifth inning to maintain its lead, going up 6-1. The Colonels would go on to put the game away for good, exploding for four runs in the top of the fifth inning to take a commanding 10-1 lead. In BU's half of what would become the final inning, the home team succeeded in getting a runner into scoring position but was unable to get her over the plate as the team went on to drop the contest by the same score.
For the day, Cook and Lyle batted .500. Cook notched the lone double of the day while Lyle posted the day's only homerun for BU.
Inside the circle, four different Bruins saw action. In game one, Lee and sophomore Alicia Veltri (Clarksville, Tenn.) split time, combining for four strikeouts. In the nightcap, junior Brittany Kennett (Melbourne, Australia) and sophomore Autumn McDanel each took a turn. Kennett tallied three strikeouts.
Belmont returns to action at next week's OVC Tournament in Oxford, Ala., May 8-11.