February 25, 2012

Troy, Belmont squeak by Golden Eagles in Chattanooga

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Tech softball team rallied for five unanswered runs in its first game of the day, but came up just one run shy both Belmont and Troy on day two of the Frost Classic.

After both teams combined for just one hit through the first two innings, Belmont (1-10) opened the scoring in the third. The Bruins did all of their damage with two outs, scoring three runs on two doubles, a single, and a Tech error. 

Belmont tacked on three more in the next frame, drawing a walk then rattling off four consecutive hits to make it 6-0 in the middle of the fourth. 

Tech answered in the bottom of the inning as senior Whitney Cummings opened the inning with a single to left. She was replaced on the bases by Christian Gibbs, who advanced to second on a single by sophomore Kendall Hooper. Freshman Angi Sakamoto then cleared the bases with a hit into left that was mishandled by the Bruins outfielder, putting her on third. After a pitching change, Belmont shut down the inning with a pair of strikeouts and an infield popup, keeping the score 6-2.

Junior Chanelle Spalding drew a walk to start off the fifth inning and hustled around to third on a single by senior Samantha Everett. A sacrifice fly by Cummings drove Spalding in to cut the Bruin lead to just three. 

Tech took advantage of several Belmont miscues in the sixth to score two more. Sophomore Cassie Garrett was hit by a pitch to open the frame. She advanced to third after a bunt by junior Melody Christian was thrown into the outfield by the pitcher. C. Spalding then walked to load the bases with one out. She would come in to score on a passed ball which also allowed Christian to get to third. A successful double-steal by Tech would see Christian cross the plate, making the score 6-5 Belmont. 

The Golden Eagles would summon just one hit in the seventh, a two-out single by Sakamoto, giving the Bruins the 6-5 victory.

Junior Claudia Harke suffered the loss, allowing three earned runs in 2.2 innings of work. She struck out a pair and walked two while allowing just four hits. Freshman Erica Tuck also allowed three runs and four hits in her 1.1 innings in the circle. 

Cummings and freshman Taylor Ketchum gave Tech the defense it needed to try to mount a comeback, each striking out a pair without allowing any runs. 

In the second contest, senior Holly Thomas allowed just one ball into the outfield through the first five innings, but it wouldn't be enough as Troy (11-1) rallied in the sixth to take a 3-2 win.

The Trojans took an early lead in the first with a pair of two-out walks and a single, scoring a runner from second.

Tech would threaten in the third on a single by Sakamoto and Garrett reaching on an error by Troy. Both runners would be stranded, however, as Trojan pitcher Jaycee Affeldt struck out two to end the inning.

The Golden Eagles stormed back in the sixth, after Christian singled, stole second, and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Senior Brooke Basten reached on a fielder's choice and both she and Christian would come in to score on an error by the Troy second baseman off the bat of Everett. Tech got runners on second and third with one out, but couldn't get the ball to the outfield, making the score 2-1.

Troy hit back-to-back doubles in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game at two apiece. A sacrifice bunt and a single through the right side gave the Trojans the go ahead run they would not surrender, taking the 3-2 win.

Thomas allowed three runs and five hits in six innings of work while striking out a pair. 

Tech wraps up play at the Frost Classic on Sunday with a single game against Ball State. The first pitch is slated for 12:15 CST.