By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech softball team completed its three-game sweep of OVC and in-state foe Tennessee State (16-30, 4-12) on Sunday, taking the finale 8-1 amidst a gorgeous afternoon at Tech Softball Field.
Freshman starting pitcher Danielle Liberatore (8-10) was brilliant once again to notch her third consecutive conference victory, leading the Golden Eagles (15-31, 7-10) with a complete game, four-hit showing.
Tech broke the game wide open in the second inning, plating seven runs with the scored knotted up at 0-0. Sophomore Cortney Fry began the inning with a double down the left field line, before moving to third with one out on a pass ball. Freshman Gabby Perez singled in Fry for TTU's first run of the inning, which was followed up by an infield single by senior Kayla Floyd and a walk to junior Angi Sakamoto to load the bases.
Sakamoto would go on to reach base four times in the ball game with a single, two walks, and a hit-by-pitch, moving her season-long hitting streak to 15 straight after knocking one up the middle in the home half of the first.
With the bases juiced, sophomore Madison Taylor coaxed a walk to bring home Perez for the Golden Eagles second run of the frame, before freshman Alyssa Richards doubled to left center to plate Sakamoto and Floyd to give Tech a 4-0 advantage. Senior Kendall Hooper reached on an error that brought around Madison Taylor and moved pinch runner Amity Brown to third, before both Hooper and Brown would come in of a two-run single off the bat of Cortney Fry two batters later to push the lead to 7-0.
The seven-run cushion proved to be plenty for Liberatore, as the 5-foot-10 southpaw didn't allow more than one base runner to reach in an inning until the seventh.
TSU scored its lone run in the top of the third after freshman Liz Stansberry plated fellow freshman Courtney Geralds on a sacrifice fly to right, who tripled one batter earlier for the Tigers first base runner of the contest.
Tennessee State senior Olivia Gamache was hit with the loss after giving up eight runs (five earned) on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings of work.
Four straight on the road await the Golden Eagles as Tech will head to UT Martin for a doubleheader on Friday, Apr. 18, before traveling to Southeast Missouri for a twin bill on Saturday, Apr. 19. Friday's double dip is slated to begin at 12 p.m. CT.