By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Taking a break in its Ohio Valley Conference slate, the Tennessee Tech softball team was upended in both games of a doubleheader at UT Chattanooga, falling 12-1 and 3-1. The Golden Eagles (10-28) had a crack at a dramatic seventh-inning comeback in the second affair, but behind clutch Lady Mocs' (21-14) pitching, the bid was foiled.
Trailing 3-1 heading into the final frame, Tech loaded the bases with one out. Senior Kayla Floyd began the comeback attempt with a single, before a hit-by-pitch to junior Angi Sakamoto and a walk to sophomore Madison Taylor filled the bags. The Sakamoto hit-by-pitch ended UTC starting pitcher Taylor Deason's (9-6) outing, as the Lady Mocs called on sophomore Katie Henderson to try and shut the door.
Henderson (11-6), who had already picked up the win in the opener behind a complete game effort, bounced back after walking Taylor with consecutive strikeouts to junior Hannah Eldridge and senior Kendall Hooper to end the game for her first save of the season.
The Golden Eagles outhit Chattanooga, 7-5, largely thanks to a stellar outing from inside the circle by freshman Danielle Liberatore (5-8). The lefty out of Peotone, Ill. went the distance in suffering a tough-luck loss, allowing three runs (two earned), while scattering five hits, walking three and striking out four.
After the Lady Mocs plated a run in the bottom of the first, Tech responded immediately with a run in the second to deadlock the score at 1-1. Kendall Hooper got things going with a double, which was promptly followed by a Chelsea Burgess hit-by-pitch to put runners on first and second with no one down.
Up stepped freshman Alyssa Richards, who reached on an error that allowed Hooper to score from second, while Burgess moved to third. Still threatening with runners on the corners and one out, TTU hit into some bad luck with a line-drive double play off the bat of sophomore Cortney Fry, as Chattanooga shortstop Alyssa Taylor doubled off Burgess at third to help put an end to the Golden Eagle rally.
The Lady Mocs took the lead in the bottom of the third thanks to a Criket Blanco two-out RBI single that brought around freshman Jesslyn Stockard to give UTC a 2-1 edge. Chattanooga added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth behind a two-out RBI single to right field from senior Kaiti Dutton.
Offensively for the Golden Eagles, Madison Taylor reached base three times, including picking up two hits in the affair, while Kendall Hooper managed the team's only extra-base hit with her leadoff, second-inning double.
The Lady Mocs used a pair of big innings in the opener to capture the contest, scoring seven in the second inning and five more in the fourth.
A Sam Taylor two-run double, a Sarah Beth Roberts two-run single, and a Nicole Osterman three-run home run accounted for UTC's seven-run second, while an Anyssa Robles run-scoring single, a Jesslyn Stockard two-run knock, and a Cricket Blanco two-run round tripper wrapped up the fourth inning scoring.
Tech's lone run came on a third-inning RBI double to left center off the bat of Angi Sakamoto, scoring freshman Gabby Perez, who reached on an error to begin the frame.
The aforementioned Katie Henderson earned the win with a complete-game two-hitter, while sophomore Hannah Weaver (3-15) was tagged with the loss, throwing an inning and two-thirds, surrendering seven runs on five hits.
The Golden Eagles will jump back into conference play this weekend, traveling to Murray State for a doubleheader on Saturday, before going to Austin Peay for a double dip on Sunday. Both twin bills are slated to begin at 12 p.m. CT.