February 27, 2010

Late miscues burn Golden Eagles, fall to Wright State and Kansas

Tech plays final game of Frost Classic on Sunday

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - The Tennessee Tech softball played two games Saturday morning in the second day of the Frost Classic Inspired by Memorial, and the Golden Eagles found themselves in a similar situation both games - tied late in the contest. Unfortunately for TTU, both games also ended the same way as Golden Eagle errors in the latter innings led to runs, leaving Tech with an 0-2 record on the day.

Tech dropped its first contest of the day, 6-1, against Wright State (3-7) before falling to Kansas (6-7) in the team's second game. The Golden Eagles entered Saturday on a four-game winning streak but fall to 4-5 overall with the losses.

Wright State 6, Tech 1
A pitching duel through the first five innings, Wright State capitalized on a costly Tennessee Tech error in the 6th inning to score five runs, three unearned, and secure a 6-1 victory over the Golden Eagles in the first game of day two at the Frost Classic.

Tech's hot hitting from Friday did not carry over to Saturday morning as the Golden Eagles managed just three hits against Wright State's Sharon Palma. Sophomore Whitney Cummings finished 1-for-1 with an RBI and a walk, while Holly Thomas and Jessica Steele each accounted for one hit for TTU.

Early on, it looked as if Tech would be the team to take advantage of its opponent's mistakes. Melody Christian led off the bottom half of the 1st and reached on an error by the Wright State third baseman. Two batters later, Cummings roped a single that scored Christian from second to put the Golden Eagles ahead, 1-0.

In the top of the 2nd, Wright State evened the score at 1-1 after an error by the Golden Eagles allowed a runner to score all the way from first base.

Both pitchers would take over from there, shutting down the opposing offenses until Wright State's breakthrough 6th inning.

Thomas (3-2) started the game for Tech and pitched 5.1 innings, striking out three, before Claudia Harke entered the game with one out in the 6th to help TTU out of the jam. Harke closed out the game the game, allowing just one hit in 1.2 innings of work with one strikeout.

Kansas 4, Tech 3
The Golden Eagles twice came back from deficits to tie the game against Kansas, but TTU would not get a third chance as the Jayhawks scored in the bottom of the 7th inning to break a 3-3 tie and earn their sixth win of the season.

Cummings got her first start of the season in the circle for Tech and was sharp early, sitting down four of the first five batters she faced before a TTU error in the 2nd inning started a Jayhawk rally that scored two runs.

In the top of the 3rd, Cummings helped her own cause with a two-RBI double to deep right-center field that scored Jordan Leff and Christian. Leff had started the inning with an infield single, and Christian followed with a single down the left field line to put two on with no outs. Tech threatened for more runs in the inning as Kaleigh Gates singled with two out to put runners on the corners, but Kansas escaped the jam with a strikeout to end the inning.

Kansas regained the lead in the bottom of the 3rd with a single run to make the score 3-2, but Tech would again tie the game 6th thanks to a pair of two-baggers by the Golden Eagles. With two outs in the frame, Brittany Spalding doubled to put the tying run on base and one batter later, Maddie Schmissrauter doubled to center field to bring home Spalding and put the go-ahead run in scoring position. However, Kansas was again able to get out of the inning without further damage as Schmissrauter was stranded at second.

Schmissrauter, who relieved Cummings following the 3rd inning, sat down Kansas in the bottom of the 6th but got into trouble in the 7th as she walked the leadoff batter. A single by the next Jayhawk put two on with no outs, and Kansas executed a sacrifice bunt to put both runners into scoring position.

With one out, Schmissrauter walked the ensuing batter to load the bags and set up a force situation. It looked like the move would pay off as Schmissrauter induced a ground ball by the next batter, but an error by the Golden Eagles - their third of the game - allowed the winning run to cross the plate.

Schmissrauter (1-1) was charged with the loss after allowing one run (zero earned) and pitching 3.1 innings with six strikeouts and just two hits allowed. Cummings earned a no-decision after going 3.0 innings in the circle, allowing three runs (two earned).

Cummings upped her team-leading batting average to .440 with a 2-for-4 showing at the plate. The sophomore also added two RBIs to bring her season total to seven.

Leff finished 1-for-2 with a run scored, while Brittany Spalding and Christian also scored once for TTU.

The Golden Eagles play their final game at the Frost Classic on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. against in-state opponent East Tennessee State. Click here to visit the office Web page for the Frost Classic.