Cummings, Gates each homer and double as Golden Eagles slip past Blue Raiders, 4-3

MURFREESBORO, Tenn.- The Tennessee Tech softball team won its seventh game in a row Tuesday, edging Middle Tennessee State 4-3 in eight innings. Freshman Whitney Cummings hit both the 13th double and fourth home run of her career for the Golden Eagles, while sophomore Kaleigh Gates hit her first double and third home run of the season.

Gates' home run came in the top of the seventh inning to knot the contest at 3-3, and the Golden Eagles gave sophomore Maddie Schmissrauter (9-8) the win in the circle when they plated the winning run in the top of the eighth. Schmissrauter, who was named Monday as the OVC Pitcher of the Week, worked out of a jam in the bottom of the frame to secure the win.

The Blue Raiders took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Caitlin McLure doubled down the left field line and advanced to third on a ground out, before Caty Jutson punched an RBI singled to right.

Middle Tennessee made it a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. Laurie Anna Cooley led off with a bouncing single through the left side and advanced to second two batters later on a sacrifice bunt. Cooley scored on a throwing error.

Tech tied the game in the top of the fourth inning when Cummings nailed a one-out, solo home run to left field before Gates slammed an RBI double, scoring pinch runner Taylor Horseman.

The Blue Raiders went back out in front in the bottom of the fourth. Junior Jessica Ives hit a 1-2 pitch aover the fence in left for her first home run of the season to make it 3-2.

Gates led off the top of the seventh inning with a home run over the left field fence to tie the game at 3-3. MTSU had a chance to win in the bottom of the frame, but Schmissrauter stranded a Blue Raider runner at third with a ground out to force extra innings.

The eighth inning began with the tie-breaker rule in effect, placing a runner at second base for each to begin their individual innings.

Lacie Coquerille was placed at second, and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by pinch hitter Erin Cutlip. Following a walk to Cummings, sophomore Callie Schmidt delivered an RBI single to plate Coquerille.

Schmissrauter was tested in the bottom of the eight and came up with a couple of big plays to give Tech the win. McLure was placed on second base and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt. A walk to Jutson two runners aboard, and a stolen base had them both in scorig position.

McLure tried to score the tying run an a ground ball back to the circle, and Schmissrauter gunned her down at the plate. The sophomore pitcher then struck out Cooley to end the game.

Schmissrauter finished with six strikeouts, walking one and scattering six hits in her eight innings of work. Kellie Head (1-3) took the loss, pitching the final 4.1 innings and allowing two runs on three hits, one walk and three strikeouts.

Tech (17-15, 5-0 OVC) will travel to Southeast Missouri (11-8, 2-1 OVC) this weekend to defend it's first-place ranking in the Ohio Valley Conference standings.