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Softball falls twice to begin the UT Invitational

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech softball team jumped out to 1-0 leads in both of its games on Saturday but could not hold on in either as the Golden Eagles dropped games against Liberty and No. 19 Tennessee in the first day of the UT Invitational. TTU fell, 4-1, against the Lady Flames to start the day before dropping a game against the nationally-ranked Lady Vols, 11-2.

The Golden Eagles have now lost six consecutive games, falling to 8-12 overall. Meanwhile, Liberty picks up its second win over Tech in three days to improve to 9-4, and Tennessee moves to 16-5.

Liberty 4, Tech 1
Melody Christian reached on an error to start the game, and Lacie Coquerille moved her to third base on a double to left field. Two batters later, Callie Schmidt’s RBI groundout plated Christian to put the Golden Eagles on the board early. 

Liberty jumped all over Tech starter Maddie Schmissrauter in the bottom half of the 1st inning as the first six batters of the game reached base. The Lady Flames capitalized on four early walks as they put four runs on the board to go ahead 4-1.

Claudia Harke replaced Schmissrauter in the 2nd inning and had her best performance of the season as she shut down the Liberty offense for the remainder of the game. However, Tech’s offense could not find any life as the Golden Eagles were limited to just four hits in the game.

Harke pitched 4.2 innings in relief, allowing just two hits while striking out five. Schmissrauter was charged with the loss and had her record fall to 3-3.

Coquerille, Schmidt, Schmissrauter and Jordan Leff each had hits for the Golden Eagles in game one on Saturday.

Tennessee 11, Tech 2
The Golden Eagles again struck first in their second game of the day against Tennessee. Christian singled to left field, and two batters later, Whitney Cummings punched a single through the left side to put runners at the corners. Schmidt came to bat next and set a shot back up the middle to bring Christian home and put Tech ahead, 1-0.

The Lady Vols’ high-powered offense came to bat and put up runs in bunches. Tennessee scored two in the bottom of the 1st, seven in the 2nd and two more in the 3rd to grab an 11-1 lead after three innings.

Tech needed three runs in the top of the 5th inning to avoid the eight run rule, but the Golden Eagles could only push across one to cut the deficit to 11-2. Schmidt recorded her second RBI of the game as she hit her team-leading fifth home run of the season over the left field fence to round out the scoring.

Schmidt finished the game 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored, while Cummings Coquerille and Christian also finished with hits for TTU.

Holly Thomas (5-6) picked up the loss as she had the difficult task of trying to subdue the UT offense.

The Golden Eagles will have opportunities to avenge both of Saturday’s losses this season as they take on Liberty for the third time in four days on Sunday, and Tech plays UT again on April 20 at the Tech Softball Field.

Tech returns to action in the second day of the UT Invitational on Sunday with games at 10 a.m. against Campbell and 12:30 p.m. against Liberty. Follow all of the action at the tournament Web page by clicking here.