By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Strong pitching and timely hitting kept the Tennessee Tech softball team right in the thick of things in its home doubleheader against Lipscomb on Tuesday, but big seventh innings by the Bisons (21-4) were too much to overcome as the Golden Eagles (8-17) fell in both games of the twin bill.
In the opener, TTU trailed 3-1 going into the seventh before a Lipscomb three-run frame sent Tech to a 6-1 defeat, and in the second game of the double dip, the Golden Eagles led 3-2 going into the top of the seventh, but a four-run Bison inning was the difference in a 6-3 Lipscomb win.
Despite the pair of losses, senior Chelsea Burgess put together a strong day at the dish, combining to go 3-for-5 with a home run, three RBI's, and two runs scored in the two affairs.
Tech was ousted in the opener after finally getting to Lipscomb ace Ashley Anderson (9-0) late in the contest. The 6-2 southpaw had tossed five shutout innings to help stake the Bisons to a 3-0 advantage, but the Golden Eagles touched her up in the sixth after putting runners on the corners with only out.
Chelsea Burgess started the rally with a one-out double down the first base line, which was followed by a Hannah Eldridge single to center that moved Burgess to third. After the second out of the inning was recorded, freshman Gabby Perez was hit with a pitch to load the bases for sophomore Cortney Fry, who reached on an error to bring home Burgess with the first Tech run of the game.
Now trailing 3-1, the Golden Eagle comeback bid fell short after Anderson induced senior Kendall Hooper on a pop up to first to end the threat.
Lipscomb put the game out of reach a half inning later behind a Kristen Sturdivant three-run home run, the Bisons' third long ball of the game. Red-shirt senior Kelsey Cartwright was responsible for the other two round trippers, going yard in the top of the third to break a scoreless tie, and then hitting a two-run shot in the fifth to push the Lipscomb lead to 3-0.
TTU freshman Danielle Liberatore (3-6) kept Tech in the game, surrendering only three runs over the first six frames. The Peotone, Ill. native's final line would read 6 1/3 innings pitched, six runs allowed (five earned) on seven hits, walking four and striking out three.
The aforementioned Ashley Anderson collected her ninth victory of the season, going the distance without allowing an earned run, while scattering six hits.
Chelsea Burgess helped ease the sting of game one in the day's second affair, smacking a two-run home run to left field in the bottom of the second to push the Golden Eagles to a 2-1 lead after Lipscomb plated one in the first.
Burgess would be heard from later in the tilt, as the Dunlap, Tenn. native brought around Tech's third run in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI single up the middle that scored junior Hannah Eldridge to extend TTU's edge to 3-1.
Lipscomb fought right back in the top of the top of the fifth, cutting the deficit to 3-2 on a Golden Eagle error, but if it wasn't for the brilliant defensive play by Gabby Perez, the Bisons would have taken the lead.
With runners on second and third and two down, the 5-4 second baseman from Covington, La. went into a full extension dive on a grounder up the middle hit by Kristen Sturdivant, before eventually throwing out the Lipscomb senior to complete the absolute thievery.
Tech kept the 3-2 advantage until the top of the seventh when a pair of Golden Eagle errors to open up the frame tied things at 3-3, which was then followed by Sturdivant's second seventh inning three-run home run of the day to give Lipscomb a 6-3 lead.
TTU starting pitcher Hannah Weaver (3-7) was the victim of some shaky Golden Eagle defense in suffering the loss as Tech made five errors in the contest. The 5-5 righty out of Corona, Calif. ended up pitching into the seventh, surrendering six runs (three earned) on six hits.
Senior Heather Parker (5-2) notched the win thanks to a complete game showing, allowing three earned on three hits.
Tennessee Tech will be right back at it on Wednesday, hosting Western Kentucky for a single game beginning at 2 p.m. CT.