WOODSTOCK, Ga. - Solid pitching and timely hitting were the keys to victory on Saturday as the Tennessee Tech softball team won two close games in the second day of the Buzz Classic. The Golden Eagles defeated James Madison, 2-1, to begin the day before capturing a 4-3 win against Mississippi to close out the day.
Tech improves to 8-6 overall this season with the wins, while James Madison falls to 7-5 and Mississippi drops to 12-6.
Tech 2, James Madison 1
The Dukes struck first on Saturday as James Madison manufactured a run in the top of the 1st inning off of starter Holly Thomas on a pair of hits.
Down 1-0 in the bottom of the 2nd, the Golden Eagles tied the score on a Lindsey Umberger single to right-center field that scored Jessica Steele from second base. Steele came in to pinch run for Thomas after she singled to put two runners on with one out. A fielder's choice sent Steele to second before Umberger delivered the two-out game-tying hit.
Thomas shut down James Madison in the top of the 3rd, and Tech would take its first lead in the bottom of the frame when Kaleigh Gates doubled to deep right-center to score Callie Schmidt all the way from first base to put TTU ahead, 2-1.
The one-run lead is all Thomas would need as she did not allow a hit the rest of the way, sitting down 12 of the next 14 batters. A walk and an error allowed the two James Madison base runners, both of whom were stranded at first.
Thomas finished the game with a complete game three-hitter. She struck out five and allowed just one earned run over 7.0 innings of work. The sophomore was also effective at the dish, going 1-for-2 with a walk.
Tech 4, Mississippi 3
Tech jumped on the board in the top of the first as Whitney Cummings hit her team-leading fourth home run of the season. Cummings, who leads the team with a .368 batting average, sent a shot over the left field fence to give Tech a 1-0 lead after the team's half of the 1st.
Junior Maddie Schmissrauter was called on for her second start in as many days after sparkling one day earlier against Western Carolina. Again, she did not disappoint as she kept the Rebels scoreless through the first four innings before a two-out RBI single in the 5th by Ole Miss tied the game at 1-1.
That is the way the score would remain until the 7th inning when Gates singled up the middle to start a three-run Golden Eagle rally. Lacie Coquerille reached on an error and Schmissrauter singled to right field to load the bases with no outs.
Following a Rebels pitching change, Brooke Basten put the Golden Eagles in front as she singled to center field, scoring Gates from third and keeping the bags packed with no outs.
Mississippi got a big strikeout on Umberger for the first out of the inning before Melody Christian reached on an RBI fielder's choice that scored Coquerille from third. One batter later, Chanelle Spalding hit Tech's fourth single of the inning to drive home the third TTU run of the inning and put Tech ahead 4-1.
Schmissrauter struck out the first Rebel to begin the bottom of the 7th before inducing a ground out to put Tech one out away from the win. However, Ole Miss would rally as the next two batters reach on a walk and a single before a TTU fielding error scored both runs and kept the tying run on first base. Schmissrauter calmly got out of the jam as she forced a ground ball by the next batter to seal the victory for the Golden Eagles, 4-3.
Schmissrauter picked up her second win in as many days, pitching 7.0 innings while allowing just one earned run. She struck out seven as she improves to 3-1 on the season.
The Golden Eagles wrap up action at the Buzz Classic on Sunday with a game at noon against UNC Greensboro.