Belmont softball sweeps three-game series in homefield Bruin Classic

Updated: Apr 22

The Bruins are back swinging at the home diamond, taking down their opponents in all three games at E.S. Rose Park this weekend.

Wearing green ribbons in their hair, the softball team wanted to raise awareness for mental health struggles following the suicide of Stanford student-athlete Katie Meyer on March 1.

Belmont invited the University of North Alabama, the University of Akron and Bradley University for the Bruin Classic tournament.

Before Friday’s snow hit, the sun was out and shining for the Bruins, who began their weekend with a 5-0 shutout versus the UNA Lions.

Following 13 games on the road, Belmont opened up home play with a roar by recording three runs at the bottom of the first inning.

The first of those runs came from senior Cheyenne Cavanaugh, who scored after a walk to first base, a dart to second off a hit from freshman Baie Ensio, a move to third with the help of junior Abi Ledbetter and a sprint to home base for 1-0 lead.

Continuing the offensive pressure, Ensio and junior Kristen Green both made it home for a 3-0 lead heading into the second.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, designated player Alicia Veltri made it 4-0 with her second home run of the season.

Sophomore Emma Summers pitched well for the Bruins, only allowing two hits throughout the game. Along with some stellar defense, the home squad completed the 5-0 shutout following another run by Green in the fifth.

After a shining start to the tournament and a Saturday of rest, Belmont stepped up to the plate versus Akron on Sunday afternoon.

Scoring nine runs in the first inning, the Bruins held off the Zips to win 13-5. 

With sophomore Alex Clesi pitching, Belmont set out to tie the game after an early 0-1 lead from Akron. 

But as Ledbetter stepped up to swing, that all changed.

And after knocking in Cavanaugh from third base, the Bruins’ runs just kept coming.

Ensio, Ledbetter and Green also made a successful lap around the diamond on some passed balls, with seniors Veltri and Ellison Ollinger solidifying a 6-1 lead.

Akron recovered well as their batters stepped out, collecting the next two runs in the game at second and fifth.

Clesi contributed with three strikeouts and no walks in the game.

With a Bruin point in the fifth inning and one for the Zips in the sixth, Belmont concluded the scoring with a home run by Ollinger.

Ellison Ollinger walking up to bat versus Akron, a game where she sent one of her two home runs of the weekend. Jessica Mattsson / Belmont Vision

Finishing up two hours of play against Akron, another game was quickly approaching as the Bradley Braves took the away dugout.

A future Missouri Valley Conference opponent, the anticipated match-up ended 5-2 in favor of the home team.

The offense got in the right gear after a slow start with two scoreless innings, posting more effective play in the second half of the game.

Bradley took a 2-0 lead but the Bruins swung back and beyond collecting one run followed by a dinger by Ollinger, recording her second home run of the day.

Belmont’s defensive play clicked as Summers tallied an impressive seven strikeouts. And with her consistent play Friday and Sunday, she was named Ohio Valley Conference Pitcher of the Week.

Continuing the fifth-inning flare, sophomore Gabrielle Givers snagged her first run of the weekend while Ensio stacked up her fourth.

As a cherry on top of the home sweep of a Bruin Classic, Ledbetter stole home base to close in this year’s tournament.

Following the 23-run performance, Belmont softball will head into an intense schedule of OVC play, starting with three games on the road against Austin Peay University this weekend.

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PHOTO: Softball’s No. 20 Cheyenne Cavanaugh sliding to third base in the 13-run game against Akron on Sunday. Jessica Mattsson / Belmont Vision

This article was written by Jessica Mattsson.

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