BELLEVUE, Neb. - The Bellevue University softball team swept a double-header with Nebraska Wesleyan University on Tuesday evening at the Lied Center. The Bruins took the opener 2-1 on a walk-off single by senior Shelby Kindelin and claimed the nightcap 9-1 in five innings behind a 13-hit effort at the dish. Bellevue, playing in their home-openers, is now 8-7-1 on the year.
The games were the season-openers for the visiting Prairie Wolves who open the season 0-2.
Game One: BU 2, NWU 1
Shelby Kindelin singled through the right side to drive in the game-winning run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. Freshman Michaela Miller led off the inning with a line drive single to left, advanced to second on a sac bunt by classmate Kendall Hendrix, and moved up to third on a wild pitch to Kindelin. A mound visit to try to slow things down for the Prairie Wolves proved futile as Kindelin calmly lined the next pitch through the right side to provide the walk-off victory.
Sophomore Kelli Fisher (4-2) struck out a career-high 10 and limited Nebraska Wesleyan to just two hits and an unearned run over seven solid innings to earn the 2-1 win.
Fisher danced around trouble for much of the afternoon starting in the opening inning. The first two batters of the game of Nebraska Wesleyan reached and the Prairie Wolves put runners on second and third with one out but Fisher was able to bear down and strike out the side.
Nebraska Wesleyan broke through in the top of the fourth inning with the help of a couple Bellevue errors and some small ball. Maddy Ethen's fielder's choice drove home Madi Francis who reached on a one-out error to start the rally.
Nebraska Wesleyan threatened to double their advantage in the fifth after a two-out error put runners at the corners but Fisher got Francis to pop up to end the inning and keep the Bruins within striking distance.
Bellevue struck for the game-tying run in the bottom half of the sixth. Sophomore Sydney Robertson and senior Ashley Gigax led off the inning with infield singles before moving into scoring position on a well-executed sac bunt by freshman Alex Tooley. The next batter up, freshman Sayde Woten, lined out to left to chase in Robertson.
Game Two: BU 9, NWU 1 (5 Inn.)
Senior starter Taylor Mohler (4-4) was terrific after some first inning trouble, retiring 14 of the final 15 batters she faced, including striking out six, as Bellevue complete the sweep of Nebraska Wesleyan with a 9-1, 5-inning victory.
Nebraska Wesleyan claimed an early lead. Three of the first four batters of the game singled for the Prairie Wolves including Madi Francis who drove home leadoff batter Brittany Gentry for a 1-0 lead.
That lead was short-lived as the Bruins bounced back with a run in the bottom half of the inning. Shelby Kindelin led off the inning with a bunt single and advanced to second on a sac bunt by Sydney Robertson. Ashely Gigax lined a single through the right side to chase home Kindelin while Gigax took second on the throw to the plate.
Bellevue would claw their way to a pair of runs in the bottom of the second to take a 3-1 lead. Sophomore Kaitlyn Goney started a two-out rally by reaching on an error before freshman Sarah Zeleny walked to bring the top of the order to the plate. Back-to-back singles by Kindelin and Robertson plated Goney and Zeleny.
The Bruins plated some insurance runs in the fourth on freshman Emily Gigax's two-out RBI-single to right center that scored Sayde Woten. A batter later Goney chased NWU starter Marisa Garver with a two-run single to center to push the BU advantage to 6-1.
Two more runs in the fourth put BU up 8-1. The blows came on a one-out RBI-single by Tooley and a sac fly by Emily Gigax. The Bruins had a chance to inflict further harm but a strikeout stranded a pair of runners on base. Tooley's bases-loaded single to short in the bottom of the fifth enacted the 8-run rule, clinching the BU victory.
Bellevue returns to action this weekend when they travel to Springfield, Mo. for the Evangel Tournament with games on Friday and Saturday.