Tech extends winning streak to four games
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Head coach Tory Acheson entered the season with the belief that his Tennessee Tech softball team would hit for more power than a season ago. He could not have been more right on Saturday as the Golden Eagles belted six home runs in two games while earning a pair of victories to extend their winning streak to four games.
Junior catcher Callie Schmidt went 4-for-4 at the plate and the Golden Eagles hit three home runs as the Tech defeated Miami (Ohio), 5-4, in TTU's first game of the Frost Classic Inspired by Memorial. Then, Tech picked up right where it left off in its second game of the day, hitting three more bombs in a 4-2 victory over Oakland.
Both Schmidt and Kaleigh Gates had two homers on the day, while Whitney Cummings and Holly Thomas each had one. Tech entered the game in search of its first long ball this season until Gates hit one out of the park early against Miami and started the home run barrage.
Tech 5, Miami (Ohio) 4
Schmidt's four hits mark a new career high for the junior from Peru, Ill. After singling in the 2nd and 3rd innings, Schmidt smashed a two-out solo homer in the top of the 5th inning that proved to be the game winner. Schmidt also singled to start the top of the 7th to wrap up her career game.
The Golden Eagles went their first five games of the season without a home run, but Tech used the long ball to score all five of its runs against Miami (1-3).
Trailing 1-0 in the top of the 2nd, Tech's Gates followed Schmidt's single with a home run to left field to give the Golden Eagles a 2-1 lead.
TTU tacked on two more in the 3rd as Cummings, the team's home run leader from last season, homered with two outs in the innings and one on base to put the Golden Eagles ahead by three, 4-1.
Miami kept the game close as the RedHawks answered with a pair of their own in the bottom of the inning, forcing TTU starter Claudia Harke from the game. Junior Maddie Schmissrauter entered in relief to record the final out of the inning and keep Tech's one-run lead intact, 4-3.
Following a scoreless 4th frame, Schmidt homered in the 5th to provide a much-needed insurance run for the Golden Eagles.
In the bottom of the 7th, Miami caught a break to start the inning on an error by Cummings. A double by the next RedHawks put runners on second and third with no outs, but Schmissrauter struck out the next batter for the first out of the inning. An infield single by the next batter plated an unearned run for Miami and also left runners on first and second with one out.
Acheson turned the ball over to his number one pitcher, Holly Thomas, to get the final two outs, and she delivered, inducing a ground out by the first batter she faced before ending the game with a strikeout to earn her first save this season.
Schmissrauter (1-0) recorded six strikeouts with just one walk in 3.2 innings of work in relief of Harke to earn her first win of the season, who exited the game with four strikeouts and three earned runs allowed.
Tech 4, Oakland 2
After a two hour and 20 minute game to start the day, Tech did not have much time to relax before stepping on the field again for its second game against Oakland. That seemed to benefit the Golden Eagles as their hot hitting from game one on Saturday carried over to the nightcap.
After two scoreless innings, Tech jumped ahead 1-0 in the 3rd on an RBI single down the left field line by Cummings that scored Brittany Spalding from second base.
TTU added two more in the 4th inning as Gates and Thomas hit back-to-back solo homers to start the inning, giving the Golden Eagles a 3-0 lead.
Oakland manufactured a run in the top of the 5th to cut the deficit to two, but Schmidt answered in the bottom of the inning with her second home run of the game to push Tech's advantage back to three, 4-1.
That would be all the run support the Tech pitching staff would need. Thomas (3-1) started the game for Tech and pitched through the 6th inning, allowing just one run. Harke entered in the 7th and worked around a pair of singles to strike out the side while allow just one run, earning her first career save as Tech captured the two-run win, 4-2.
Chanelle Spalding finished the game 2-for-2 with a walk, while Cummings also had a multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 with an RBI.
The Golden Eagles return to action at the Frost Classic Inspired by Memorial tomorrow when they play Wright State at 9 a.m. followed by Kansas at 11:30 a.m. Follow along with all the action at the tournament's official site by clicking here.