Tech falls behind early, drops OVC tourney contest to SEMO, 7-1

Tech falls behind early, drops OVC tourney contest to SEMO, 7-1

Golden Eagles begin quest Saturday; Face UT Martin at 10 a.m.

JACKSONVILLE, Ala. – Red-hot Southeast Missouri struck quickly Friday afternoon, scoring three times in the top of the first and twice more in the second, then rode its advantage to a 7-1 victory over Tennessee Tech in the winner's bracket final of the 2009 Ohio Valley Conference softball tournament.

The Golden Eagles (26-30) will need to win three times Saturday to claim the championship, beginning with a game at 10 a.m. against UT Martin, which eliminated Jacksonville State, 2-0. A win over the Skyhawks would put Tech into the championship game against SEMO (29-19), where the Golden Eagles would need to win twice for the title.

The damage came quickly against starter Holly Thomas, as Renee Kertz and Alex Ramirez each singled, and with one out Jennifer Vasquez popped a 2-2 pitch over the left field fence for a 3-0 lead. The Redhawks loaded the bases to start the second inning, and Kertz delivered a two-run single up themiddle to make it 5-0.

It could have gotten worse, but Thomas got Vasquez to pop up to end the second inning, leaving two runners stranded.

The Golden Eagles got one run back in the bottom of the second. Katie Betry singled to lead off the frame and with two outs, Cassidy Skeen singled. Jordan Leff's double sent Betry home, but that was as much as Tech could muster.

Sophomore Maddie Schmissrauter relieved Thomas to start the third inning, and held SEMO scoreless for the next three innings, but the Golden Eagles couldn't produce a comeback against Redhawk starter Giana Zimmerman and the score remained 5-1 through five innings.

Schmissrauter appeared to be close to ending the SEMO sixth, giving a leadoff single before retiring thenext two hitters. With two outs, Depuis singled and Kertz walked to load the bases, and Shelby Stein drove a two-run double to center to make it 7-1. Senior Kristina Hortert relieved Schmissrauter and ended the frame with a strikeout of Ramirez.

Thomas (14-16) took the loss, working two innings and allowing five runs on seven hits. Schmissrauter pitched 3.2 innings and was responsible for two runs on five hits. Hortert was perfect over the final 1.1 innings. Zimmerman (19-8) went the distance for SEMO, pitching seven innings and allowing just four hits. She walked two and struck out nine Golden Eagle batters.

Five different SEMO hitters had multiple hit games as the Redhawks combined for 12 hits off Tech's three pitchers.