Softball splits doubleheader with Belmont
The JU softball team avoided a late scare to pull out a 4-3 victory over Belmont in game one of an Atlantic Sun Conference doubleheader on Thursday night at the JU Softball Complex.

The Bruins (5-25, 2-4) secured a 3-1 game two victory by scoring two runs in the sixth inning to hand the Dolphins (22-12, 1-3) their fifth loss in the last six contests.

“These were two tough games,” said JU head coach Amanda Lehotak. “We did what we had to do to get the split tonight. We need to start playing more relaxed ball because we can’t afford to get swept anymore.”

Despite a tough seventh inning in game one, senior Ashley Iveson (10-4) secured the victory in the circle after allowing three runs on six hits and seven strikeouts in seven innings.

Courtney Elrod (0-1) was tagged with the loss for Belmont by allowing two runs on five hits, two walks and three strikeouts in 4.0 innings of relief. Julie Harmon allowed two runs on a hit and four walks in 2.1 innings for a no-decision.

Devon Schmidt (5-10) pitched an absolute gem for the Bruins in game two, allowing a run on five hits in seven innings to get the win.

For JU, freshman Olivia Kline (5-4) took the loss after allowing three runs (one earned) on six hits, while recording six strikeouts in seven innings.

Offensively, sophomore Kayla Ouellet finished 4-for-6 in the doubleheader to lead the Dolphins. Senior Kelly McKeon along with sophomores Brie Carmack and Melisa Morales all finished with RBI hits for JU.

In game one, Morales walked to open a scoreless third inning and got pinch ran for by junior Annike Don. McKeon tripled to center field off Harmon in the next at-bat to score Don and give the Dolphins a 1-0 lead. After a walk to junior Katarina Engler, McKeon scored on a wild pitch to double the Dolphins advantage.

The Dolphins began the fourth inning with consecutive singles, but freshman pinch runner Lauren Even got thrown out at third advancing on the second hit by sophomore Kayla Shavers. After a groundout to move to third, Shavers scored on a single by Morales.

After perfect fifth and sixth innings, Iveson ran into trouble as she tried to close things out in the seventh.

Amanda Buntin led off the inning with a double down the left field line. Sara Bentley hit a ground ball to junior Katie Kelly at shortstop which she held to hold Buntin at second base instead of getting the out at first. Kelly was able to get a force out at third in the next at-bat and Iveson struck out Kelley Cash. Brooke Babington made the Dolphins pay with a two-run double to right center field to pull the Bruins within a run. Hannah Irwin tied the game in the next at-bat with a single to center field to score Babington.

Engler led off the JU half of the seventh inning with a walk, while advancing to third on the next at-bat as Ouellet legged out a bunt down the first base line. The pressure got to Elrod as she uncorked a wild pitch during Kelly’s at-bat which allowed Engler to score the game-winning run for the Dolphins.

In the second game, the Bruins carried over their late momentum after they took a 1-0 lead in the first inning with the help of a Dolphins error.

Morales opened the third inning with a triple to right field. After a strikeout by McKeon, Carmack plated Morales on a pinch-hit single to center to tie the game.

In the fifth inning, Morales tried to spark the JU offense again by getting hit with a pitch. She advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by McKeon and moved to third on an infield hit by Ouellet, who also reached second on the play by taking the unoccupied base left open by the Bruins. Schmidt kept the Dolphins from scoring by getting Kelly to fly out to end the inning.

In the Belmont sixth inning, Ashley Smith and Ashley Byers each singled to began the frame, while Kline got Buntin to pop out in the next at-bat. Bentley followed with a double to left field to score Harmon from second, who was pinch running for Smith. Byers advanced to third as the throw came in from the outfield to sophomore third basemen Amanda Schmidt, which she lost. As Byers raced home, Schmidt recovered and threw her out, but freshman catcher Sarah Simon was ruled for obstruction to give the Bruins the run and the 3-1 lead.

Despite getting a runner of third in the bottom of the sixth inning, Schmidt retired the next six JU batters in order to get the win for Belmont.

The Dolphins have a tall order tomorrow as they host A-Sun leader Lipscomb (25-7, 4-0) in a twin bill at the JU Softball Complex. First pitch is set for 5 p.m. Fans can follow the game on live video streaming with A-Sun.TV or through Live Stats by logging onto