Schmidt, Steele each hit grand slams as Tech tops SEMO in night game

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - The Tennessee Tech softball team hit four home runs, including a pair of grand slams, on Saturday in its two-game split against Southeast Missouri. Sophomore Callie Schmidt and freshman Jessica Steele went deep in the second game, each hitting their first career grand slams. Meanwhile, freshman Whitney Cummings extended her hitting streak to 13 games, dating back to March 10th.

The Golden Eagles (18-16, 6-1 OVC) opened the first game with sophomore Lacie Coquerille hitting her third home run of the season, giving Tech the 1-0 advantage.

The Redhawks answered in the bottom of the frame, however, scoring two runs on three singles and a hit batter.

Excellent pitching by either side allowed only three total hits throughout the next three and a half innings until a pair of doubles by SEMO in the bottom of the fifth drove in Elise Sperakos, extending the Redhawk lead to 3-1.

Tech had an opportunity to regain the lead in the sixth, loading the bases with two outs, but was unable to convert as Giana Zimmerman struck out sophomore Anna Zdroik to end the inning.

In the bottom of the seventh, Coquerille gave Tech hope once more, hitting another home run. Once more, however, Zimmerman shut down the Golden Eagle bats, finishing the game with 13 strikeouts on the way to her seventh win of the season.

Freshman Holly Thomas suffered the loss for the Golden Eagles, evening her record at 8-8. Thomas walked only one while striking out six.

Redhawk pitching didn't stand a chance in game two as starter Stefanie Barnes gave up five runs and two hits and walking a pair in just one-third of an inning. After a hit by Cummings and two walks to load the bases, Schmidt blasted her first career grand slam over the left field fence. Later in the inning, a double by sophomore Maddie Schmissrauter drove in fellow sophomore Kaleigh Gates, putting the Golden Eagles up 5-0 after just the first.

In the second inning, Tech padded its lead even more. With two outs and two on, Schmidt struck again driving a two-run double to right-center, scoring Cummings and sophomore Katie Betry.

With the bases loaded in the fourth, junior Kimmie White drove in Betry on the third Redhawk error of the inning. Schmissrauter follwed her with a single, scoring Schmidt and keeping the bases loaded with no outs for freshman Jessica Steele. In just her fourth career at-bat, Steele blasted a grand slam over the left field wall, emptying the bases, giving Tech the 13-0 win.

Reigning OVC Pitcher of the Week, Maddie Schmissrauter, started off the week making a case for another award, throwing her third shutout of the year. Schmissrauter allowed only two hits and two walks, striking out five, earning her tenth win of the season.

Schmidt went 2-4 with two runs and six RBIs in the game while Gates was 3-4 with a pair of runs scored. Betry drew three walks and scored as many times.

The Golden Eagles will wrap up the series at SEMO tomorrow at 1 p.m., and will then move on to face the Texas El-Paso Miners in Cookeville on March 31 at 4 p.m.