Holly Thomas pitches another gem as Tech tops Gamecocks on the road

JACKSONVILLE, Ala. -- Once she found her groove, Holly Thomas was unstoppable on Thursday as she led the Tennessee Tech softball team to a 4-1 win over the first-place Jacksonville State Gamecocks.

She allowed just one hit over the final five innings, and three overall, en route to her ninth victory and 12th complete game of her senior campaign.

The Golden Eagles (12-18, 6-6 OVC) scored first, with a single run in the second inning. Junior Chanelle Spalding led off the frame with a double to left center, and came in to score on a single by senior Samantha Everett.

After leaving the bases loaded in the first, the Gamecocks (15-18, 9-3 OVC) got on the board in the second with a solo home run by Hayden Crawford.

Tech regained the lead in the second inning, as senior Brooke Basten was hit by a pitch with one out. The Gamecocks were seeing double as twins Brittney and Chanelle Spalding hit back-to-back singles to score Basten and put Tech up 2-1.

The Golden Eagles added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh to seal the 4-1 victory. Freshman Christian Gibbs reached on a JSU error and advanced to third on a double by fellow freshman Angi Sakamoto's fifth double of the season. A single by sophomore Cassie Garrett and a sacrifice fly by Basten allowed Gibbs and Sakamoto to cross the plate.

Thomas struck out five batters on the day and allowed only just two balls to reach the outfield after the third inning. Holly's nine wins ranks second in the Ohio Valley Conference and her opponents batting average of .192 is the best in the league.

JSU's Tiffany Harbin suffered the loss, just her second conference loss this year. She struck out six without allowing a walk and gave up eight hits.

Tech returns home to host Southeast Missouri in a three-game series starting Saturday at 1 p.m. Admission at the Tech Softball Field is free.