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Gates hits homer as Tech falls to Eagles

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee Tech softball team dug itself into a hole early and was unable to come back as they fell to Morehead State 4-1 on Sunday. Sophomore Kaleigh Gates scored the only Golden Eagle run of the game, a solo home run to center field.

Morehead (21-14,5-7 OVC) opened the game by scoring three runs in the first inning. With runners on first and second, Kayla Brill singled to left field, giving Sam Woodall a chance to score from second. The throw to the plate skipped past sophomore Callie Schmidt, but was recovered in time to hold Woodall at third. Schmidt's pickoff attempt to third sailed into left field, advancing all three runners and gave the Eagles a 1-0 lead. A single by Bethany Ellis drove in the other two runners, making the score 3-0.

That score held until the third when Morehead hit three consecutive singles, scoring Becca Butler to increase the lead to 4-0. Freshman pitcher Holly Thomas was able to get out of the jam with no more damage done, stranding two Eagles on base.

Senior Kristina Hortert came in to pitch in the fifth, but got into a difficult situation when three more singles by the Eagles loaded the bases. Hortert got out of the inning, striking out two Morehead batters looking.

In the bottom of the fifth, Gates tried to spark a rally, hitting her fourth home run of the season. After a pair of strikeouts and a walk, freshman Jordan Leff stepped up with a single to the left side, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Tech was unable to convert, however, leaving seven runners on base in the game.

Tech (20-20,8-3 OVC) had one more chance with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. Freshman Cassidy Skeen singled to right field and Leff reached on an error by pitcher Alex Gjevre. Sophomore Lacie Coquerille hit a bouncer to the shortstop who bobbled it, but was able to get to third base in time to get Skeen out on the force.

Thomas (9-9) took the loss, allowing four runs and seven hits while striking out four. Hortert (0-1), who has not allowed an earned run in her last five innings pitched, struck out two and gave up three hits.

Gjevre (15-7), the 2008 OVC Pitcher of the Year, allowed only four hits and struck out nine Golden Eagles.

The Golden Eagles will host Tennessee State for an OVC doubleheader on Wednesday, April 8th. The first pitch is slated for 2 p.m. and admission is free.