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Taylor Ketchum pitches best game of her career as Tech splits with SEMO Saturday

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- With a career-high ten strikeouts, freshman Taylor Ketchum led the Tennessee Tech softball team to a 6-1 win over Ohio Valley Conference rival Southeast Missouri after falling to the Redhawks 6-2 in game one on Saturday.

The freshman from Newcastle, Okla. allowed just one earned run en route to her first career victory.

In the first game of the twinbill, SEMO struck in the first inning, scoring a run on two hits and a Tech error.

The Golden Eagles came back in the third to take a 2-1 lead as senior Brooke Basten and junior Brittney Spalding opened the frame with a pair of singles. After a walk loaded the bases, senior Samantha Everett hit a two-RBI single through the left side to put Tech ahead.

The Redhawks came storming back in the top of the fourth, scoring four runs on four hits and help from two Golden Eagle errors. After the errors put two runners in scoring position, the Redhawks rattled off four consecutive hits including a double by Taylor Cowan to bring four runners across the plate.

SEMO pitcher Alora Marble managed to hold Tech to just two hits over the final four innings and the Redhawks tacked on an insurance run in the sixth to take the 6-2 win.

Marble allowed seven hits and walked one while striking out just two, picking up her seventh win of the season.

Tech senior Holly Thomas suffered the loss, allowing just two earned runs while striking out five in her four innings of work. Junior Claudia Harke came in in relief, giving up a pair of hits in three innings in the circle.

Game two proved to be just the opposite, as Tech got on the board first. After loading the bases on three straight singles to open the second inning, freshman Hannah Eldridge lined a single up the middle to put the Golden Eagles up 2-0.

Tech loaded the bases in the fourth with one out with the help of a hit batter and a pair of Redhawk errors. Sophomore Cassie Garrett then singled up the middle to tack on two more runs, giving Tech the 4-0 advantage.

SEMO scored its only run of the game in the fifth inning as Evan Sallis hit an RBI single with two outs.

After loading the bases for the third straight inning, Tech's Angi Sakamoto hit a sacrifice grounder to score Tyler Templet from third. The Redhawks put two on in the top of the sixth, but Ketchum was able to get out of the jam, giving Tech the 6-1 win.

Ketchum struck out at least one batter in each of her seven innings, pitching her first complete game of the year.

Shea Cothren took the loss, giving up three earned runs and six hits in 2.2 innings. Cowan pitched the final 3.1 innings, also allowing three earned runs on just one hit and three walks.

Everett went 3-for-5 with a walk and a pair of RBI. Eldridge hit 1-of-2 with a walk and two RBI. Garrett had two RBI and Sakamoto and sophomore Kendall Hooper also drove in runs for Tech.

The rubber game is set for 1 p.m. Sunday and admission is free at the Tech Softball Field.