Belmont softball experienced many ups and down in its most recent series vs Indiana State University.
Welcoming the Sycamores to E.S. Rose Park, the Bruins dropped the series’ opener and finale dropping their record to 22-17 on the season, including an 8-8 record in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Saturday’s series opener looked promising at the start for the Bruins as redshirt freshman Maya Johnson started as pitcher once again.
Johnson started the first inning strong with two back-to-back strikeouts before the inning concluded with a fly out to freshman center fielder Kristen Green.
As the second inning approached, the Sycamores scored first, as Cassie Thomerson secured a two RBI home run over the center field fence.
The Bruins fought back in the bottom of the inning, with freshman Kylie Cunningham earning an RBI single in her first career start as the designated player.
The Sycamores widened the gap when the third inning came by scoring three additional runs on three different RBIs earned by Isabella Henning, Annie Tokarek, and Thomerson.
Johnson was replaced inside the circle by freshman Ellie Giles in the top of the fourth.
But the Sycamores continued to earn runs after Danielle Henning earned an RBI double, scoring Kaylee Barrett, who found a spot on on base due to two illegal pitches thrown to her.
Indiana State replaced starting pitcher Lexi Benko with sophomore Cassi Newbanks as it went on defense.
Newbanks held the Bruins tight, ending the inning with three ground outs.
As the first game came to a close, the Sycamores cemented their win with Thomerson earning a 3 RBI double.
After the score, the Bruins fell victim to the run rule, 10-1.
Into the second time facing the Sycamores, Bruins’ starting pitcher junior Emma Summers seemed determined to turn the series around.
At the top of the first inning, the Sycamores were the first to score with an RBI Kennedy Shade, but Summers and the rest of the Bruins were able to hold the Sycamores scoreless for the rest of the game.
The Bruins got on the board in the fifth inning with a home run from sophomore Emily Cockrill.
Sycamore pitcher Lauren Sackett was pulled from the game walking two batters, with Newbanks returning to the circle for the second day in a row to close out the game.
Bruin freshman Nicoles Hughes was the first to face off against Newbanks and earned an RBI base hit, scoring freshman Brenna Blume.
That scoring sequence set up another score for Belmont and secured the 2-1 victory for the Bruins.
The Series Finale
Tied at one game apiece, Johnson was placed back inside the circle with hopes of securing the series win for the Bruins.
But the Sycamores had other plans as they were the first to score in the third inning after a Henning RBI.
During the top of the fourth, the Sycamores got hot after a home run by Shade.
The Sycamores continued streak and score with another RBI by D. Henning and a 3 RBI double by Isabella Henning, exploding the score to 6-0.
At the start of the fifth inning, the Bruins made another pitching switch.
Summers replaced Johnson and held Indiana State scoreless for the remainder of the inning.
As the game progressed, tensions became high.
Indiana State head coach Mike Perniciaro was ejected from the game after arguing with the home base umpire about the strike zone as the Sycamores attempted to hold the Bruins.
Cockrill kept her composure during the argument that occurred during her at-bat and was able to earn the Bruins their first RBI of the game.
That sequence gave Belmont its first run.
The top of the sixth saw another argument between a coach and the home base umpire.
Belmont head coach, Laura Matthews, was ejected from the game after arguing with the umpires about Sycamores slap-hitter Olivia Patton hitting the ball while outside of the batters box.
Despite the chaos, the Sycamores scored again with an RBI by Tokarek.
The bottom of the sixth saw the Bruins battle back with a sacrifice bunt by Junior Kaley Varner, leading senior Abi Ledbetter to score.
The Bruins followed up by a slap hit by sophomore Baie Ensio, causing Hughes to score, ending the inning.
The score stood at 7-3.
Summers held the Sycamores scoreless in the final inning, but the Bruins never found momentum at bat with Newbanks inside the circle.
Belmont will host rival Lipscomb University in softball’s edition of the battle of the boulevard at home Wednesday at 6 p.m..
This article was written by Emma Woodhead.