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Golden Eagles drop a pair to Bulldogs Saturday

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The Tennessee Tech softball team dropped a pair of non-conference games at Mississippi State on Saturday by scores of 6-2 and 5-1. However, the Golden Eagles came one step closer to the 2012 Ohio Valley Conference tournament with some help from other teams around the league.

Tech took an early lead in the first game as Melody Christian was hit by a pitch and came around to score on an RBI single by Brittney Spalding.

The Bulldogs loaded the bases in the second on a single and a pair of walks. A bases-clearing triple by Jessica Offutt and a Tech error allowed the Bulldogs to take a 5-1 lead.

After two more walks and a stolen base to open the fifth, MSU tacked on an insurance run on an infield groundout.

The Golden Eagles picked up a spark in the top of the sixth as senior Whitney Cummings hit her third home run of the month to cut the lead back to four. Tech managed hits in all but one inning, totaling eight hits in the game.

Holly Thomas suffered the loss, allowing five earned runs and six walks in five innings of work. She held the Bulldogs to just three hits and struck out a pair.

Misty Flesher won the contest, giving up seven hits and one run while fanning three.

Tech looked to take a first-inning lead again in game two as Kayla Floyd and Cummings each drew walks. Both were stranded however, opening the door for Mississippi State.

Freshman pitcher Taylor Ketchum got two quick outs on the Bulldogs, before walking and hitting a batter. A double followed by a single allowed three runners to cross the plate before she could get out of the inning.

After opening the second with a walk, Ketchum was lifted for junior Claudia Harke. Harke then gave up a single to her first batter faced, allowing another run to score.

Floyd led off the third with a single to center and, after stealing second, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Christian. After Cummings drew her second-straight walk, senior Brooke Basten hit an RBI infield single to score Floyd, pulling Tech within two.

The Bulldogs would go on to tack on an unearned run in the sixth after a Tech error.

Ketchum was tagged for the loss, giving up four earned runs on just two hits and three walks. Harke pitched five innings, striking out four without allowing an earned run.

Lindsey Dunlap earned the win, letting the Golden Eagles score just one run while she struck out eight in five innings of work.

Cummings drew three walks, all in game two, and hit a home run on the day. Christian went 4-for7 including a 3-for-3 outing in game one, and scored a run.

The Golden Eagles take the week off for finals, but return to action next weekend at Morehead State in a series to determine seeding in the OVC Tournament. With Southeast Missouri losing to Murray State Saturday, Tech needs to win just one game at Morehead State to clinch a bid to the tournament.