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Golden Eagles fall twice in Chattanooga to open season

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - The 2009 softball season got underway with a bang Friday for the Tennessee Tech softball team, but the Golden Eagles couldn’t fan the flames and found themselves extinguished twice in the first day of action at the UTC Invitational.

Tech got a three-run home run in the top of the first inning from freshman Holly Thomas, but went on to lose the opener, 8-4 to Campbell University, A few hours later, Tech took a 2-0 loss to Troy, managing just two hits against the Lady Trojans.

Tech (0-2) is scheduled to play Virginia Tech Saturday at 9:30 a.m., followed by a contest against the Maine Black Bears at 2:30 p.m. The tourney wraps up Sunday with a 2:30 p.m. game against the host Lady Mocs.

Thomas had a breakout game in her first career outing as a Golden Eagle, going 3-for-3 with four RBI, slamming a three-run home run in the first inning of the opener. It came with one out, after freshman Cassidy Skeen singled in her first career at bat, and Whitney Cummings, another freshman, walked to set the table.

Campbell answered with two in the bottom of the first off sophomore starter Maddie Schmissrauter (0-1). After a walk, Karlie Love belted a two-run homer.

Tech loaded the bases with nobody out in the third but couldn’t score as Campbell starter Brittany Stanley (1-0) worked out of the jam.

Thomas made it 4-2 with an RBI double in the fifth inning, scoring Skeen who had reached on an error and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Cummings.

The Fighting Camels grabbed the lead in the bottom of the fifth with a two-out, four-run rally. It started with a pair of walks and an RBI single, before Love blasted her second home run to give her five RBI.

Trailing 6-4, Tech loaded the bases again in the sixth on singles by Kimmie White and Kaleigh Gates and a walk to Skeen, but reliever Katie Woodcock got a pop up to end the threat.

With two out and two on in the Campbell sixth, Leathers delivered a two-run double to make it 8-4. Senior Kristina Hortert took over for Schmissrauter and got out of the inning.

Thomas collected her third hit of the game to lead off the seventh, and Callie Schmidt reached on an error to put two runners on base, but the Golden Eagles couldn’t capitalize.

In the second game, the Golden Eagles had just two hits against two Troy pitchers. Starter Ashlyn Williams (1-0) worked the first six innings and allowed singles to Skeen and sophomore Lacie Coquerille, walked one and struck out 11 to earn the win. Moore pitched a scoreless seventh to earn a save.

Thomas (0-1) went the distance for Tech, allowing five hits and four walks, striking out three for the loss.

Troy scored one in the second as Hillary Hughes doubled and eventually scored on an infield error. The Trojans added two in the top of the sixth on a bases loaded single by Tasha Elmore, and two more in the top of the seventh on a two-run home run by Heidi Johnson.