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Tech puts out Flames, cages Bears on first day of KSU Classic

 

WOODSTOCK, Ga. -- The Tennessee Tech softball team swept its games Saturday on the first day of the KSU Classic, with victories over Liberty and Mercer. The Golden Eagle offense was strong, finishing the day with 13 runs on 20 hits. 

Sophomore Taylor Ketchum (3-0) picked up her third win of the season, remaining undefeated as she allowed just one run in Tech's 3-1 win over Mercer. Senior Claudia Harke (1-1) also earned her first victory of the 2013 season, after relieving Erica Tuck in the fourth inning against Liberty as the Golden Eagles posted a 10-3 victory in eight innings. 

Led by a combined 13 hits from the Tech offense, the Golden Eagles began the KSU Classic with an seven-run, extra-inning victory over Liberty University at Twin Creeks Park Satruday morning. Tech was led by senior centerfielder Melody Christian who went 5-for-8 in the two games along with four stolen bases. Madison Taylor added four hits.

The Golden Eagles offense was subdued until the thrid inning, trailing Liberty 1-0.

In the circle, sophomore Erica Tuck got the start, but Harke came on in the middle of the fourth inning with two outs and got a strikeout to end the inning. Harke gave up the tying run in the fifth but stranded two runners in scoring position the rest of the contest to get the win.

Junior Kayla Floyd jump-started the offense with a bunt down the third base line. Christian followed suit at the next at bat. Chanelle Spalding and Kendall Hooper passed go thanks to back-to-back walks, allowing Floyd to score and allowing Chelsea Burgess to step to the plate with the bases loaded. Burgess hit a sacrifice fly to right field that sent Christian home, giving Tech a 2-1 lead. 

Tech scored one more as freshman Madison Taylor sent a tough ball up the middle allowing Chanelle Spalding to cross the plate. 

Liberty scored one in the bottom of the thrid and the tying run in the bottom of the fifth. Tech was able to dull the Flames and force extra innings. The Purple and Gold exploded in the top of the eighth, collecting five hits and seven runs, forcing a new Liberty pitcher to take the field. Liberty's Friesen would close out the game, as all but two Golden Eagles scored.  

Harke worked a one-two-three inning to secure the win. 

Immediately following their first game, the Golden Eagles rushed over to take on the Mercer University Bears. Ketchum opened the game with two perfect innings, striking out two of the first three batters she faced, retiring the first six bears in the lineup.

Christian scored Tech's first run in the bottom of the first inning, thanks to Taylor's single up the middle. Christian scored Tech's eventual winning run in the bottom of the fifth when Taylor singled up the middle. Kendall Hooper was Tech's other scorer in the fifth, racing home on a passed ball.

It wasn't until the bottom of the sixth inning that the Bears scored as Randi Rea knocked a solo home run.  

The Golden Eagles return to action Sunday as they face Ball State at 9:30 a.m. and host Kennesaw State at 2:30 p.m.