TUCSON, Ariz. -- The Bellevue University softball team was swept on Sunday in a non-conference doubleheader against NSAA rival Valley City State University in the Bruins' final games of the Tucson Invitational Games.
Valley City won by scores of 6-4 and 1-0. The Bruins dropped to 17-11 on the season after the losses. VCSU improved to 20-6 overall.
The Bruins will return home on Saturday-Sunday, March 24-25, for a four-game conference series against No. 21-ranked University of Jamestown. The doubleheaders will begin each day at 1 p.m. at the Lied Activity Center Softball Field.
Game 1: Valley City State 6, Bellevue 4
The Vikings took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a two-out RBI double by Voni Culp.
Thanks to three VCSU fielding errors, BU tied the contest at 1-1 in the bottom of the third.
VCSU regained the lead at 3-1 in the top of the fifth following an RBI single to right field by Emily Smith and a run-scoring double to center field by Kelli Moore.
The Bruins responded in the bottom of the fifth, tying the contest with a two-run homer to left field by Erin Sharpe.
A two-run single to right field by Joelle Aiello gave the Vikings a 5-3 advantage in the top of the sixth frame.
The Bruins sliced the lead to 5-4 in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI double to center field by Alex Tooley.
The Vikings got an insurance run in the top of the seventh on a bases-loaded fielding error by BU shortstop Emily Gigax to give VCSU a 6-4 advantage.
Emily Smith who replaced starting pitcher Nichole Reed in the bottom of the seventh, earned her third save of the season, retiring the side to secure the two-run victory for the Vikings.
Reed (1-0) got the win, allowing three hits and one walk with five strikeouts in six innings of work.
Myah Boehnke (0-1) suffered the loss, scattering seven hits and six walks with two strikeouts in seven innings in the circle.
Game 2: Valley City State 1, Bellevue 0
Three singles in the bottom of the second, including a run-scoring hit by Kadie Anderson, led to the only run of the game for either team.
The Bruins threatened in the top of the fifth, loading the bases with two outs, but Smith struck out Sharpe to end the threat. Once again, BU had its chances in the top of the sixth with runners on the corners and one out, but Smith got out of the jam with a strikeout and fly out to keep the score at 1-0.
Smith retired the side in the top of the seventh to preserve the 1-0 victory and the sweep for the Vikings.
Smith improved to 6-1 on the season, allowing just three hits with one walk and five strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings of work.
Emily Rochford (1-4) took the loss, scattering seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts in six innings.