Golden Eagles edge Winthrop in nine innings; UConn game suspended

Golden Eagles edge Winthrop in nine innings; UConn game suspended

ATHENS, Ga. – It took a couple of extra innings, but the Tennessee Tech softball team finally prevailed Saturday afternoon, edging Winthrop 5-4 in nine innings at the Georgia Bulldogs Classic.

Winthrop battled to the finish, rallying with one run in the bottom of the seventh and two in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game both times and force an added frame.

Tech (3-5) was facing Connecticut later Saturday when the game was suspended in the third inning. Tech and the Huskies will resume Sunday at 10 a.m. CT, while the game against Western Illinois has been cancelled.

Holly Thomas (3-2) got the win in the circle against Winthrop, overcoming six walks while allowing only four hits.

Brittany Spalding went 3-for-4 to pace the Tech offense, including a two-run home run in the top of the eighth. Whitney Cummings and Melody Christian each had two of Tech's 10 hits.

Winthrop grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first and held that edge into the fifth. The run came on a walk, stolen base and double by Chelsey Schoenfeldt. Thomas allowed just one hit through the next four innings, and the Golden Eagles backed her with two in the top of the fifth for a 2-1 lead.

Brooke Basten and Melody Christian both singled, and Chanelle Spalding reached on a fielder's choice that scored Basten to tie the game. Christian was out on the play, but the relay to first was thrown away and Spalding raced to second. An RBI single by Whitney Cummings made it 2-1.

Thomas faced a huge threat in the sixth but got out of it. After a single, walk and sacrifice put two runners in scoring position with one out, the senior pitcher got back-to-back groundouts to Brittany Spalding at third base to send it to the seventh.

Winthrop forced extra innings with an unearned run in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game at 2-2. The leadoff batter reached on an error and an infield single put two runners aboard. Tech got a force out at second for the first out, and shortstop Emily Burch gunned down a runner at the plate on another ground ball for the second out.

But Thomas couldn't zero in on the strike zone and walked the next to batters to force home the tying run, before getting a grounder to end the inning.

Brittany Spalding tried to win it in the eighth, smacking a home run with Chanelle Spalding aboard to make it 4-2, but Winthrop answered with a two-run home run in the bottom of the inning by Melanie Andrea to tie it 4-4.

Tech went up 5-4 in the top of the ninth. Garrett was placed on second (international rule), Sakamoto beat out an infield single and Basten walked to load the bases. Christian's ground out plated the go-ahead run.

The Eagles placed pinch runner Teja Durante on second to start their half of the ninth with the top of the lineup coming to the plate. Thomas got the dangerous leadoff hitter, Megan Chapman, to strikeout but McKenzie Corn poked her second hit of the game into left field, pushing Durante to third. Thomas got Eberlin and Schoenfeldt, Winthrop's three and four hitters, to fly out end it.

Thomas (3-2) got the win, pitching all nine innings. She walked six, struck out five and allowed six hits and three earned runs. Becker took the loss, allowing five runs on 10 hits, walking four and striking out nine.