OXFORD, Ala. -- With its collective eyes on history, Belmont Softball jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning and never looked back on Thursday in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament at Choccolocco Park. The No. 8 Bruins (35-21) rolled over No. 5 Murray State (35-18), 5-1, to earn the program's first postseason victory in the Division I era.
Belmont wasted no time in putting runs over the plate in the top of the first frame. Sophomore Baylee Cook (Lewisburg, Tenn.) smacked a single to left. A Racer throwing error helped freshman Bailey Sims (Flowery Branch, Ga.) to reach before sophomore Hayley Baker (Rockwall, Texas) laid down a sac bunt to move the pair into scoring position. Junior Lexi Rouse (Macon, Ga.) singled and senior Chelsey Deloney (Gardendale, Ala.) doubled to send two runners home to give BU an early 2-0 lead. In their half of the same inning, Murray State trimmed the Belmont lead in half but strong defense kept it from adding more runs, even with the bases loaded.
After a quiet second inning, Belmont went to work again at the plate. Baker reached on four balls before Rouse drove a single up the middle. Deloney knocked a ball that bounced off the top of the fence in right field for a double that scored one. Murray State changed pitchers but the Bruins kept surging. Sophomore Jordan Spicer (Hendersonville, Tenn.) was walked to load the bases and senior Kayla Wells (Bonney Lake, Wash.) singled up the middle to add another run and put BU ahead, 4-1.
Both teams were silent offensively through the next three innings. Finally, Belmont posted an insurance run, courtesy of a solo home run by Deloney over the left center fence to expand the team's lead to 5-1. The Bruins were able to quickly retire the MSU side to seal the program's first postseason win in the Division I era.
For the day, Deloney was flawless, going 3-for-3 at the plate, including an insurance solo home run late in the game.
Inside the circle, freshman Brooklin Lee (Burns, Tenn.) went the distance, ringing up four strikeouts.
Belmont returns to action on Friday, May 12 in the OVC Tournament. The eighth-seeded Bruins take on No. 5 UT Martin beginning at 12:30 p.m. The matchup can be seen live on the OVC Digital Network and live stats will be available.