MARTIN, Tenn. – A three-run ninth inning propelled the Tennessee Tech softball team to a 6-3 extra-innings victory against third-seed Morehead State in the first game of the OVC Tournament before the Golden Eagles ran into a hot-hitting Jacksonville State team and fell, 10-4, at Bettye Giles Field in Martin, Tenn.
With the split, Tech (26-29) advances to play fifth-seed Murray State at 11 a.m. on Friday morning in the elimination round. Murray State lost to Eastern Illinois, 5-4, in 10 innings on Thursday.
Tech 6, Morehead State 3
Both TTU and MSU (27-24) came through with clutch hits in the seventh inning to force the game into extras.
With the score 2-1 in favor of Morehead State in the top of the seventh, Whitney Cummings hit a two-run homer with one out that gave the Golden Eagles a 3-2 advantage going into the last half of regulation.
Golden Eagle starter Holly Thomas induced a pair of groundouts to start the bottom half of the frame, putting Tech one out away from the win, but the Eagles' Kayla Brill hit a solo homer with two outs to knot the score at 3-3 and force extra innings.
Neither team scored in the eighth inning, but Tech broke through in the top of the ninth to grab a 6-3 advantage. Kaleigh Gates, who was recently named to the all-OVC second-team, started the rally with a one-out double to center field. Cummings was beamed with a 3-2 pitch to put runners on first and second, and Callie Schmidt worked a 2-2 count into a walk to load the bases.
Lacie Coquerille came to the plate next for Tech and delivered, just as she has all season long. The team's leading hitter with runners in scoring position, Coquerille roped a double to left-center that scored Gates and Cummings, giving Tech a 5-3 lead. After Abbey Hayes walked to again load the bases, Samantha Everett tacked on one more run with an RBI groundout.
Thomas held the Eagles scoreless in the ninth to preserve the TTU victory. She pitched all nine innings for the Golden Eagles as she recorded her 11th complete game and 14th victory of the season after tossing 157 pitches (98 strikes). Thomas struck out three and allowed just two earned runs in improving to 14-13 this season.
The Golden Eagles gave Thomas a one-run cushion early on as Jordan Leff tripled to deep right field, bringing home Everett for the game's first run in the second inning.
Morehead State battled back, tying the game in the fourth before taking a 2-1 lead in the sixth to set up the dramatic seventh inning.
For the second season in a row, the Golden Eagles, the sixth seed, upset a higher seed to advance to the winners' side of the bracket.
Cummings finished 2-for-4 with a double, home run, two runs scored and two RBIs, while Everett was also 2-for-4 with a double, one run scored and one RBI. Leff and Coquerille also had a pair of hits for Tech as the Golden Eagles pounded out 11 hits for the game.
Jacksonville State 10, Tech 4
Jacksonville State (28-27) put a two-spot on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first, but Tech battled back in the top of the second inning.
Cummings started the second with a walk and Callie Schmidt followed with her ninth home run of the season to tie the score at 2-2.
Still in the second, Brittney Spalding hit a single to left and found herself at third after a pair of wild pitches by JSU starting pitcher Ashley Eliasson. Two batters later, Jordan Leff took a walk and stole second base to put two runners in scoring position with two outs. Melody Christian took advantage of the RBI opportunity and took a 1-2 pitch to left field for a single that plated both runners, giving TTU a 4-2 advantage.
The Gamecocks kept on hitting though and would put up runs in each of the next three innings. After a single run in the second, JSU rallied for five in the third inning and two in the fourth to take a 10-4 lead.
The Golden Eagles would get no closer as Eliasson did not allow a hit following the second inning.
Seven different Tech players reached base for the game, led by Schmidt who finished the game 1-for-3 with a homer and two RBIs.
Maddie Schmissrauter started the game for Tech and allowed just three earned runs over three innings without allowing a walk. Five unearned runs also crossed the plate while she was in the circle as she took the loss to fall to 9-8 overall on the season.
Cummings pitched the final three innings of relief and did not allow a run.
Live stats for Tech's third game of the OVC Tournament will be available through Jacksonville State's Web site, JSUgamecocksports.com, or by clicking here. The game is also available with streaming audio through Teamline or video through OVCsports.tv. To access the audio broadcast, click here.
2010 Ohio Valley Conference Softball Tournament
THURSDAY, MAY 13
Game 1 - #3 Morehead State vs. #6 Tennessee Tech – Tech 6, Morehead State 3
Game 2 - #4 Eastern Illinois vs. #5 Murray State – Eastern Illinois 5, Murray State 4
Game 3 - #2 Jacksonville State vs. #6 Tennessee Tech – Jacksonville State 10, Tech 4
Game 4 - #1 UT Martin vs. #4 Eastern Illinois – 8:30 p.m.
FRIDAY, MAY 14
Game 5 – #5 Murray State vs. #6 Tennessee Tech – 11:00 a.m.
Game 6 – #3 Morehead State vs. Game 4 loser – 1:30 p.m.
Game 7 – Game 4 winner vs. #2 Jacksonville State – 4:00 p.m.
Game 8 – Game 6 winner vs. Game 5 winner – 6:30 p.m.
SATURDAY, MAY 15
Game 9 – Game 7 loser vs. Game 8 winner – 11:00 a.m.
Game 10 – Game 7 winner vs. Game 9 winner – 1:30 p.m.
(if necessary Game 11 follows at 4:00 p.m.)