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Big hit Callie Schmidt: Tech wins on walk-off home run, 6-5

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Callie Schmidt hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to propel the Tennessee Tech softball team to a 6-5 victory over Kennesaw State on Wednesday in Chattanooga.

With two runners on and TTU trailing 5-3, Schmidt stepped to the plate as the winning run. After falling behind in the count 0-1, Schmidt battled back and worked the count in her favor with three balls and one strike. 

“At first I was looking for a homer, and then coach called timeout and told me to look for a base hit,” Schmidt said. “Then I shortened up my swing and just tried to hit a line drive.”

On the fifth pitch of the at-bat, Schmidt connected with a fastball on the outer half of the plate, sending a line drive over the right-center field wall. The homer was Schmidt’s team-leading seventh of the season and helped the Golden Eagles improve to 15-21 overall this season. 

“That’s my pitch,” Schmidt said. “I’m good with a 3-1 or 3-0 count, and I knew she was looking to bring something close to the plate.”

Tech’s win was its second over Kennesaw State this season, sending the Owls to a 17-16 record overall. 

“It was great to see her step up and come through with an obviously clutch hit,” said Golden Eagle head coach Tory Acheson. “We’ve needed something like that for a while so hopefully that’ll be the spark to get us going.”

After falling behind, 1-0, following the top of the first inning, the Golden Eagles took the lead in the bottom of the frame. Jordan Leff evened the score at 1-1 when she came around to score on a KSU error before Whitney Cummings put TTU ahead with a sacrifice fly that plated Kaleigh Gates from third base. 

Tech’s lead was short-lived though as Kennesaw State scored twice in the second inning and once in the fourth to take a 4-2 lead after four innings.

Cummings brought the Golden Eagles within one run in Tech’s half of the fifth inning with an RBI double off the left-center field wall that scored Melody Christian from second base, making the score 4-3. 

Kennesaw State led off the top of the seventh inning with a solo homer that gave the Owls a two-run cushion going into Tech’s final at-bats.

Melody Christian started off the inning by beating out an infield single. Anna Zdroik then reached base on a fielder’s choice, and Gates walked to put runners on first and second, setting up Schmidt’s game-winning homer. 

Claudia Harke (1-4) pitched the seventh inning for the Golden Eagles and earned her first career victory. Holly Thomas started the game for TTU and went three innings in the circle before Maddie Schmissrauter pitched the next three innings for Tech.

“It felt great to just win,” Schmidt said. “We needed a win going into this weekend.” 

The Golden Eagles return to action this weekend with a three-game homestand against OVC-leading UT Martin. Tech plays a doubleheader against the Skyhawks beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Tech Softball Field.

“Hopefully we can build on this momentum of the big seventh inning comeback and go into the weekend with a little more confidence,” Acheson said.