Golden Eagles top Buffalo, fall to Georgia on Bulldog Classic opening day

Golden Eagles top Buffalo, fall to Georgia on Bulldog Classic opening day

ATHENS, Ga. – Expecting to play just one game Friday, the Tennessee Tech softball team split a pair of games on the first day of action at the University of Georgia Bulldogs Classic.

In the afternoon contest, Tech downed Buffalo, 3-0, behind a solid pitching effort from senior Holly Thomas. The nightcap, which was moved to Friday from Sunday due to expected bad weather moving in, went to the host Bulldogs, 6-1.

Tech (2-5) is scheduled to play two games Saturday, facing Winthrop at 2 p.m. and Connecticut at 4 p.m. The final game is now set for Sunday at 8 a.m. against Western Illinois.  

Thomas (2-2) was sensational in her shutout effort against Buffalo, limiting the Bulls to four hits over seven innings. She walked four and struck out five, and stranded six runners on base, including two in scoring position in the sixth.

The Golden Eagles threatened in the bottom of the second with two singles, but Buffalo’s Haylee Land, who took over in the inning for starter Tori Speckman, got out of the jam with a strike-em-out, throw-em-out double play on an attempted steal.

Tech punched a single run onto the scoreboard in the fourth when a single and two walks loaded the bases with one out. Emily Burch also drew a bases loaded walk to force Chanelle Spalding across the plate for a 1-0 lead.

Holly Johnson relieved Land, and the rally ended quickly when Cassie Garrett’s line drive was caught and the TTU runner was doubled off.

The Golden Eagles added two more runs in the fifth Angi Sakamoto walked and raced home on a triple by Melody Christian. The throw to the infield went awry, and Christian continued all the way around to make it 3-0.

Two singles and a groundout placed runners at second and third for the Bulls in the sixth, but Thomas got a ground ball to end the inning.  

Tech had two more singles in the sixth without scoring, but it didn’t bother Thomas who yielded a harmless walk in the seventh before wrapping up the contest.

Six different players had one hit apiece for Tech while four different Buffalo players also had one hit each.

Land (0-2) took the loss, one of three Buffalo pitchers in the game. The Bulls fell to 2-5 overall.

Georgia used a strong, complete-game pitching performance by Morgan Montemayor to subdue the Golden Eagles in the night’s final contest, 5-0. Montemayor went the distance and limited Tech to three hits over seven innings, walking three and striking out six.

Claudia Harke (0-1) took the loss, working four innings and allowing five runs (only three earned) on seven hits. She walked three and struck out five. Erica Tuck threw one perfect inning of relief in the fifth and Taylor Ketchum worked the sixth inning.

Georgia scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning, all of the damage coming with two outs. Sandberg doubled and Sito singled to put a pair of runners aboard. Both runners scored on a single by Wilson and an error by the Golden Eagles. A single by Hubbard brought Wilson home from third to make it 3-0.

The Bulldogs added an unearned run in the third on a passed ball, making it 4-0.

Tech had a golden opportunity in the fourth, placing two runners in scoring position with nobody out, but couldn’t connect the dots and went down without scoring. The first out came when Melody Christian was thrown out at the plate trying to score on an infield grounder. With runners at the corners, Brittany Spalding bounced into an inning-ending double play.

A walk, stolen base, flyout and a double by Sito brought home Georgia’s fifth run in the bottom of the inning.

Tech got on the board with one run in the top of the sixth as catcher Kendall Hooper delivered a two-out, RBI single that scored pinch-runner Christian Gibbs. It was Tech’s third hit of the inning.

Georgia got that one back in the bottom of the sixth on a bases loaded sacrifice fly by Sito.