COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Following a stretch where the Tennessee Tech softball team played eight of its last nine games in the familiar confines of the Tech Softball Field, the Golden Eagles will be on the road for their next four games. Tech plays a single game against Jacksonville State on Wednesday to wrap up the season series before the team travels to Nashville for a three-game weekend series versus Tennessee State.
The Golden Eagles are 16-23 overall after going 2-2 in four games last week. Tech upended Kennesaw State for the second time this season thanks to a three-run walk-off home run by Callie Schmidt in the bottom of the seventh inning for the team's first win of the week, and TTU also earned a win in the series finale against UT Martin as three pitchers combined for a two-hit shutout of the first place team in the Ohio Valley Conference.
JSU, picked to win the OVC in the preseason poll, has a 19-16 overall record and is fourth in the conference standings with a 6-6 record. Meanwhile, TSU (10-24) and TTU are tied for seventh place in the OVC standings with a conference record of 5-8.
The Golden Eagles and Gamecocks played a two-game series at the Tech softball field earlier this season. The two teams split the doubleheader with JSU winning 5-1 in game one before TTU rebounded for a 4-1 win in game two.
Kaleigh Gates, Tech's leading hitter of late, feasted on Jacksonville State's pitching in game two of their doubleheader, hitting two home runs while driving in all four Tech runs. In her past nine games, Gates has 11 hits in 21 at-bats for a team-best .524 batting average. She has also hit two homers, scored seven runs and driven in six RBIs during that span.
Another Golden Eagles enjoying recent success is freshman pitcher Claudia Harke. The Kimberly, Wis., native earned the first two wins of her career a week ago. Harke won her first career game against Kennesaw State after pitching the seventh inning before tallying her second win against UT Martin after pitching a pair of scoreless inning in relief.
Three Golden Eagles are hitting above .300 this season, led by Gates who is hitting .323. Also above .300 are freshmen Melody Christian (.308) and Chanelle Spalding (.304). Christian is currently riding a season-best five-game hitting streak, while Spalding is 3-for-8 with two doubles over her past two games.
The game between Tech and Jacksonville State is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. Live stats for the contest will be available through JSU's Athletics Web site, jsugamecocksports.com.
TTU and TSU will kick off the weekend with a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 12 p.m. before playing a single game with the same start time on Sunday. For live stats for those games, check out TSU's Athletics Web site, tsutigers.com.