KENNESAW, Ga. - Ball State jumped out to a 4-0 in the first inning, and that score would hold up the rest of the way as the Tennessee Tech softball team dropped its season-opener in the first game of the Phyllis Rafter Memorial Tournament hosted by Kennesaw State University. In their second game of the day, Tech fell to Mercer by a score of 9-1.
Sophomore Holly Thomas pitched 5.0 innings for the Golden Eagles and did not allow a run following the Cardinals' four-run 1st inning. Junior Maddie Schmissrauter entered the game in the 6th inning and pitched 2.0 scoreless innings in relief.
Sophomore Whitney Cummings led the way at the plate for Tech, finishing 2-for-2 with a walk.
Against Mercer, the Golden Eagles came alive at the plate as they recorded 11 hits; however, Tech was only able to push across one run, while Mercer turned its 11 hits into nine runs.
Freshman Melody Christian finished with her first multi-hit game of her career as she went 3-for-4 from the lead-off spot and scored the lone TTU run. Junior Callie Schmidt went 2-for-3 with an RBI, and freshman Chanelle Spalding also recorded a pair of singles, finishing 2-for-3 at the plate.
Freshman Claudia Harke pitched scoreless 1st and 2nd innings before Mercer strung together a pair of singles and home run to take a 3-0 advantage. Schmidt singled up the middle to score Christian in the bottom of the inning, and the Golden Eagles continued to threaten as sophomore Brooke Basten and Spalding hit back-to-back singles to load the bases with two outs. But Tech left the bases full on a ground out to end the inning.
Harke got through the 4th inning unscathed as Tech maintained just a two-run deficit, but Mercer blew the game open with a five-run 5th inning before scoring one in the sixth to take the 9-1 win.
Harke allowed eight runs on nine hits in 4.0 innings of work. She also finished with six strikeouts. Sophomore Whitney Cummings came in to relieve Harke and allowed one run on two hits in 2.0 innings.
The Golden Eagles return to action at the Phyllis Rafter Memorial Tournament tomorrow with a pair of games. Tech plays Western Illinois beginning at 9:30 a.m. and Alabama State at 5:00 p.m.
Check back to TTUsports.com for more information as it becomes available. For more information on the Phyllis Rafter Memorial Tournament, click here.