RICHMOND, Ky. -- Prior to Friday's game, the Tennessee Tech softball team had played one conference series while the rest of the Ohio Valley Conference had played close to 10 games each. The Golden Eagles traveled to Eastern Kentucky, which currently sits atop the league's East Division with six OVC wins, prepared to take control of the league.
The Golden Eagles rode the hot bat of senior Chanelle Spalding during an 11-2 victory over the Lady Colonels in the opener before dropping a 3-0 decision in the second game of a doubleheader. Spalding sent two dingers over the left field wall in the first part of the twinbill, collecting four RBI.
During Tech's first game, the Golden Eagles jumped in front during the opening frame when Melody Christian led off with a single to the left side and scored on a single to the right side by Kendall Hooper. Chanelle Spalding placed her first home run over the left field wall driving in Hooper to give the Purple and Gold a 3-0 advantage.
Tech extended its lead and sent the Colonels to the bullpen after the Golden Eagles scored five runs in the bottom of the second. Freshman Cortney Fry got the ball rolling on a single and sophomore power hitter Angi Sakamoto ripped a double to left, putting both players in scoring position. Hannah Eldridge reached on a walk, loading the bases for Madison Taylor, who delivered an RBI single to the left field corner, driving in Fry. Back-to-back errors by Eastern Kentucky sent home the remaining runners in giving Tech an 8-0 edge.
The Lady Colonels got on the board with two runs in the third, but Tech countered with two runs in the fourth, including Spalding's two-run homer, and a final run in the fifth, ending the game in five innings.
Taylor Ketchum (9-5) pitched a complete game, facing 19 batters and striking out four. The sophomore gave up four hits and two earned runs, and walked just one batter.
In the second outing, the Golden Eagles faced Leanna Pittsenbarger (12-6), one of conference's top pitchers. Pittsenbarger has a conference high 12 victories and holds a second-best 39 called strikeouts.
The sophomore didn't give up a hit until the third inning, striking out 13 Golden Eagles. The Purple and Gold connected for four hits, but only saw two runners advance past first in the sixth inning.
The Lady Colonels scored their three runs in the first two innings as Erica Tuck (0-5) took the loss.
The Purple and Gold will close out the series in Richmond Saturday with a single game at 1 p.m. CDT.