Thomas, offense conquer Colonels twice in Thursday twinbill

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Holly Thomas stepped in the circle Thursday to face the 3,000th batter of her career. She walked out of it with a career-high 11 strikeouts as she led the Tennessee Tech softball team to a 3-2 victory over Eastern Kentucky.

The Golden Eagles (17-22, 11-9 OVC) also earned a 10-2 win over the Colonels in the second game as an offensive outburst backed Taylor Ketchum's four-hitter to improve their standings in the Ohio Valley Conference standings.

Thomas allowed only four hits and didn't walk a batter in her 16th complete-game outing of the year. Tech's bats provided support as the Golden Eagles scored two runs in the bottom of the first on singles by Melody Christian, Kendall Hooper and Brittney Spalding.

EKU's Raquel Howes scored the Colonels' lone earned run of the game with a solo home run to left field to open the fourth.

The fifth frame opened much like the first as Christian singled to left. After advancing to second on a groundout, she came in to score the eventual game-winner on an RBI single by Hooper.

The Colonels (16-22, 8-9 OVC) threatened again in the sixth as they put runners at the corners with no outs. EKU managed just one run, however, on a sacrifice fly by Larkyn Wood. Thomas struck out two batters to get out of the jam, aiding her in fanning two batters in each of the final four innings.

Leanna Pittsenbarger took the loss, allowing nine hits while striking out just three.

In the nightcap, the Golden Eagles once again scored in the first as senior Whitney Cummings belted a two-run homer to center.

Tech tacked on two more in the second as Samantha Everett singled to open the frame. Christian then hit her second triple of the year and came in to score on an EKU error to give Tech the 4-0 lead.

EKU loaded the bases in the third with a hit and and two errors. The Golden Eagles got out of the jam, however, getting three quick outs without allowing a ball to reach the outfield.

Doubles by Hooper and Spalding in the third increased Tech's lead to 5-0. The Golden Eagles added an insurance run in the next inning as Brooke Basten doubled to score Kayla Floyd.

The Colonels got on the board in the top of the fifth, scoring two with the help of a triple by Melissa Costa and a couple of Tech errors.

Tech loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth, looking to score four to run-rule the Colonels. RBI singles by Christian and Cummings put the Golden Eagles up 9-2. A single up the middle by Chanelle Spalding allowed Basten to score, ending the game at 10-2 in five innings.

Freshman Taylor Ketchum earned the win, her second of the year. She allowed just four hits and one earned run while walking only one.

The Colonels utilized three pitchers, but it was starter Shaylon Robb who was tagged with the loss. She gave up five hits and four runs in two innings of work.

Melody Christian [in photo above] led Tech, hitting 5-for-7 with four runs and a pair of RBIs. Cummings drove in four as Hooper and B. Spalding each had two RBIs.

The Golden Eagles are scheduled to play three games at Eastern Illinois beginning Saturday.