Kendall Hooper homers twice in 13-5 loss to No. 4 Tennessee
By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Behind a power display that saw a combined six home runs, No. 4 University of Tennessee (33-5) got the better of the Tennessee Tech softball team, 13-5, in the Golden Eagles' (12-31) final non-conference game of the season.
Tech senior Kendall Hooper crushed a pair of long balls to give the Hermitage, Tenn. native five on the year, tying junior Angi Sakamoto for the team lead. Hooper kicked off the scoring in the top of the first, drilling a two-run shot to dead center, scoring Sakamoto who doubled to begin the ball game.
Sakamoto would go on to add another hit in the contest, finishing 2-for-3 with two runs scored to extend her season-long hitting streak to 12 straight games.
Trailing 8-2 in the top of the third, Tech made it a game with the number four ranked team in the nation, showing resiliency in a three-run third to cut the deficit to 8-5. A second two-run home run by Hooper chopped the UT lead to 8-4, before a Cortney Fry RBI single down the left field line scored senior Chelsea Burgess who doubled one batter earlier.
The Vols put the game on ice with a five-run fifth inning, pounding out 12 hits in the win. Tennessee responded to the Golden Eagle two-run top of the first inning with a seven-run bottom half of the frame, hitting three home runs in the inning.
Senior Madison Shipman smacked a three-run shot to give UT a 3-2 advantage, which was followed by a two-run round tripper by fellow senior Melissa Davin to push the edge to 5-2, before junior Cheyanne Tarango capped off the first inning scoring with a two-run long ball.
Shipman added a solo shot in the bottom of the second to put Tennessee up 8-2, as 6-1 shortstop would go on to score three runs and drive in four, both Volunteer highs. Freshman Annie Aldrete went a perfect 3-for-3 with a walk, a run scored, and three RBI's.
TTU freshman Danielle Liberatore (6-10) suffered the loss after not recording an out in her start, while Cheyanna Tarango (2-1) picked up the win in relief, tossing two innings and giving up three runs on four hits.
The Golden Eagles will jump back into conference play this weekend, welcoming in Tennessee State for a three-game series at Tech Softball Field. Saturday, Apr. 12 features a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. CT, while Sunday is just a single game also starting at 1 p.m.