Sparks drives in seven, Hughes gets first win as Tech splits with Samford

Sparks drives in seven, Hughes gets first win as Tech splits with Samford

By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – It was Raegan Sparks' day at the plate as she led the Tennessee Tech softball team to a split against Samford on Sunday afternoon as she went 4-for-7 with seven RBI and her fifth home run of the season.

Kayla Hughes picked up her first win of the season in the day's nightcap, pitching the complete game as she allowed four earned runs on 10 hits, striking out two in the Golden Eagles' 9-5 win over the Bulldogs.

And it was Sparks' effort at the plate that helped Tech get there as Sparks went 2-for-4 in the second game with four RBI, in addition to three more RBI with a 2-for-3 effort at the plate in game one.

The first game, however, was a tough one for the Golden Eagles, even though Tech did rally, but Samford prevailed 11-8.

The Bulldogs scored seven runs in the first two innings, but Tech struck back for three runs in the third as Sparks hit a two-run double down the right field line to drive in Alyssa Herlocker and Leigh Ellen Thomas, then Bayli Cruse sent Sparks home on a single up the middle.

Samford claimed four more runs in the fourth, then Tech got those right back in the home half of the frame. Hallie Davis led off with her first home run of the season, then Samford had back-to-back-to-back errors, allowing Thomas and Jessie Lowery to score, then Sparks drove in Sydney Love-Baker on a single to left.

Tech added one more run in the fifth as Gabby LaSala scored on a passed ball.

Taylor Waldrop took the loss, allowing 11 runs – seven earned – on 12 hits as she walked two and struck out four.

It was the Golden Eagles who struck first in the second game as Lowery scored on a Sparks RBI single to right center, then Taylor Thomas hit a single to short to drive in Sparks. Samford tied the game at two in the top of the second.

But in the fifth inning, Tech's offense came through. Beth McCulley led off with a single through the left side, then took second on Leigh Ellen Thomas' bunt toward third. Love-Baker took a walk, then Sparks blasted a three-run shot to left center.

Tech added insurance with four runs in the sixth. Aminah Wood drove in Hannah Richter with a single to left center, Leigh Ellen Thomas' grounder to second allowed Alyssa Herlocker to score, Ashley McGowan singled home Wood, then Love-Baker drove in Lowery with a single to right.

The Golden Eagles (4-14) return to action at home on Wednesday as they host Lipscomb in a single game, starting at 3 p.m.

Photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information