Tech battles hard with SIUE, drops both games
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. -- The Tennessee Tech softball team lost two tough battles at SIU Edwardsville Saturday afternoon. The Golden Eagles fell 3-0 in game one and then could not hold on in game two, losing 3-2.
The Cougars scored three runs in the first game, all off of homeruns. Tech's Taylor Ketchum (13-8) pitched two and two-thirds innings before Erica Tuck came in for relief. The sophomore right-hander worked her way out of several jams as the Cougars had runners in scoring position in the fifth and sixth inning.
SIUE's Haley Chambers got the win throwing her best game of the season. Chambers tied her career high 13 strikeouts, throwing at least one strikeout every inning.
Freshman Madison Taylor was the only Golden Eagle not to strikeout in the first game, and connected for one of Tech's two hits. Christian singled to left field in the third and collected one of her three stolen bases of the day. Christian advanced to second; marking the furthest a Golden Eagle would reach in the first game. Taylor's hit came in the fifth inning when she singled to right field.
In the second game of the afternoon, the Golden Eagles offense struck first. Hannah Eldridge singled to center field in the first inning and advanced to second on Chanelle Spalding's shot up the left side. Junior Kendall Hooper reached on a fielder's choice, as Eldridge was thrown out by the short stop at third. Brittney Spalding singled to short loading the bases for the Purple and Gold. Angi Sakamoto took one for the team as SIUE's Erin Greenwalt hit Sakamoto for a free base, and a free run.
Senior Claudia Harke (5-8) started game two off on the right track in the circle. She and the defense retired nine of the first 11 Cougar hitters, holding onto the 1-0 lead until the bottom of the fourth inning.
Another SIUE homerun put the Cougars on the board. Kayla Riggs hit the two-run shot after being held hitless in the first contest. SIUE extended its lead to 3-1 in the fifth inning, before the Golden Eagles answered in the sixth.
With two outs, Christian singled and then advanced on a throwing error. Another Cougar error put Eldridge on first while Christian scored, pulling the Golden Eagles within one. Chanelle Spalding doubled to left center putting runners on second and third. Tech left both stranded on a pop fly to third base by Hooper.
Tech was able to control the sixth, despite having SIUE runners on first and third. In a rally effort by the Golden Eagles, Olivia Bennett pinch hit for Sakamoto. Despite the change, the Cougars sat down all three batters ending the game 3-2.
The Golden Eagles remain on the road traveling to Charleston, Ill. to take on the top team in the West Division Eastern Illinois. The doubleheader is scheduled to begin at noon.