Tech tops Tigers in extra innings, splitting a pair on the day

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee Tech softball team had to score four unanswered runs, but was able to take Tennessee State to extra innings and eventually come away with a 4-3 win in game two, after falling to the Tigers 2-0 in the early game. In the first game, flawless defense by State held Tech (21-21,9-4 OVC) scoreless throughout. In the bottom of the first, freshman Whitney Cummings hit a ball deep into right center, but centerfielder Jill Gardner extended her arm over the fence, robbing Tech of a home run.

State (16-18,7-7 OVC) threatened in the fourth after loading the bases on a walk, single, and an error. With two outs, freshman pitcher Holly Thomas struck out Gardner, keeping the score 0-0 through six innings.

Tech's best opportunity came in the sixth with two runners on and two outs. Sophomore Kaleigh Gates hit a line drive towards the right side, but it struck freshman pinch-runner Brooke Basten, causing her to be called out for interference.

With runners on second and third in the seventh, State put the only two runs of the game on the board. Brittany Webb grounded out to shortstop, scoring Gardner from third, putting the Tigers up by one. A single by the pitcher, Caitlin Eaton, scored Jennifer Culberson, sealing the game for Tennessee State, 2-0.

Thomas suffered the loss, her tenth of the year, allowing the two runs and four walks while striking out eight.

Game two began in the same fashion as State jumped on top in the third. Tamara Perkins began the inning with a triple to center, coming around to score on a two-out single by Bridget Metzger. Another single and a walk loaded the bases for the Tigers, but sophomore Maddie Schmissrauter got out of the jam by striking out Royesha Goodman.

State extended its lead in the fifth when three hits and a pair of Golden Eagles errors helped two Tigers cross the plate. Senior Kristina Hortert came in to relieve Schmissrauter, and, after walking two, got Nichole Vincent to fly to center field where freshman Cassidy Skeen made a spectacular catch to end the inning, leaving the bases loaded again.

Tech's bats caught fire in the bottom of the inning, tying up the game at three apiece. Freshman Jordan Leff reached and advanced to second on an error, then came in to score on a Skeen double to right center. Back to back singles by Cummings and sophomore Lacie Coquerille scored two more Golden Eagles, all with no outs.

Each team was held scoreless until the bottom of the eighth when Gates led off the inning with a walk and was followed by a Thomas single. Leff was then hit by a pitch, loading the bases for Skeen with one out. With a 3-2 count, Skeen fouled off a pair to stay alive, before also being hit by a pitch to advance the runners, scoring Gates from third and giving Tech the 4-3 win.

Hortert got the win, her first of the season, striking out two in her 3.2 innings of work.

Skeen went 4-6 on the day, scoring once and driving in two. Cummings also had a pair of RBIs as well as her OVC-leading 14th double of the season. Gates, Leff, and Coquerille all scored for the Golden Eagles as no Tech batter struck out in the second game.

The Golden Eagles will host Eastern Illinois in Ohio Valley Conference Action this weekend starting with a doubleheader Friday afternoon at 1.