Golden Eagles top SEMO twice, clinch spot in OVC Tournament

Golden Eagles top SEMO twice, clinch spot in OVC Tournament

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Freshman Melody Christian had five hits and Tennessee Tech got complete-game pitching efforts from Holly Thomas and Maddie Schmissrauter as the Golden Eagles swept a doubleheader from Southeast Missouri Saturday, 4-0 and 2-1, to clinch their spot in next week's Ohio Valley Conference tournament.

The two teams meet Sunday at 1 p.m. in the final game of the regular season. The Golden Eagles can earn the No. 5 seed with a win.

Tech scored a couple of unearned runs early in the first game and Christian drove home the final two tallies to back a four-hit effort by Thomas in the 4-0 victory.

In the second game, the Golden Eagles (25-27/11-11 OVC) manufactured two runs in the bottom of the seventh to pull out a come-from-behind, 2-1 win.

First Game – Tech 4, SEMO 0

The biggest blast of the game wasn't a blast at all. It didn't clear any fences. In fact, it was barely a fair ball.

Southeast Missouri misplayed a Tech bunt in the second inning that the Golden Eagles turned into two unearned runs, and Thomas (pictured above left with Callie Schmidt) made it stand up. 

Thomas limited SEMO (16-31/5-17 OVC) to just four hits in the complete-game shutout, allowing the sophomore to improve her season mark to 13-12. She walked two and struck out four.

Christian had two of Tech's seven hits and drive in two runs to lead the attack from her leadoff spot. Callie Schmidt also had two hits.

Kaleigh Gates opened the bottom of the second inning with a walk, and Lacie Coquerille attempted to advance the runner with a sacrifice bunt. But the throw from the SEMO catcher toward second sailed high and went all the way to the fence, allowing Gates to race home and Coquerille to advance to third. She scored two batters later on an infield groundout by Samantha Everett  for a 2-0 lead.

The Golden Eagles got a two-out, two-run single up the middle from Christian in the bottom of the fourth to wedge their lead open to 4-0. Coquerille and Schmidt opened the frame with back-to-back singles and Everett  moved them into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Following a pop out, Christian bounced a single to center to drive home both runners.  

Stefanie Barnes (10-17) went the distance while taking the loss for SEMO. She walked three and struck out two.

Brandy Henry (left) is presented a plaque from head coach Tory Acheson. Henry was added Saturday to the Tech Softball Wall of Honor.

Second Game – Tech 2, SEMO 1

Handcuffed on three hits through the first six innings by SEMO's Whitney Dupuis, the Golden Eagles rallied in their final chance to get the win.

Cummings slashed the first pitch of the inning to left and was replaced on first by pinch runner Erin Cutlip. Schmidt laid down a sacrifice bunt, but the speedy Cutlip beat the throw to second to put two runners aboard with none out. Jessica Steele took Schmidt's place on the bases, and it proved a wise choice by Golden Eagle coach Tory Acheson.

Coquerille's sacrifice bunt advanced both runners, and Gates followed with a sharp single to tie the game as Cutlip trotted home. With runners at the corners and one out, Everett placed bunt in front of the plate the scored Steele with the winning run.

Depuis (6-14) suffered the loss, working 6 2/3 innings while allowing five hits. She walked one and struck out three. Schmissrauter (9-7) tossed all seven innings for the win. She held the Redhawks to three hits, walked three and fanned two.