By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
MACON, Ga. – One thing the Tennessee Tech softball team is showing through the first four games of the season is some offensive prowess. In the Golden Eagles' two wins on Saturday – a 15-3 five-inning victory over Wright State, then an 8-6 nail-biter over Dayton – Tech collected 22 RBI, hit four home runs and batted .474 as a team.
In the process, the Golden Eagles improved to 3-1 through the first four games of the 2020 campaign, the first time since 2004 Tech started at that mark.
Alyssa Arden, who threw 140 pitches in the win over tournament host Mercer on Friday night, had another long day on Saturday, pitching the five-inning win over the Raiders, then came in as a reliever in the Dayton victory. In all, Arden threw 7 2/3 innings, walking three and striking out 10 over 163 pitches.
Arden earned her second win of the season against Wright State, allowing three runs on four hits, while walking two and striking out five. She also claimed the save against Dayton, coming in and working the final 2 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on six hits as she walked one and struck out five.
Haeli Bryson earned her first win of the year against Dayton, going 4 1/3 frames as she allowed four runs on four hits, walking four and striking out four.
Offensively, Raleigh Lewis had another great day at the plate, driving in five, as she was 3-for-4 from the plate Saturday with her third home run of the season against the Flyers, while Sydney Love-Baker hit her first two home runs of the year and Alexis Trimiar claimed her first, as well as four total RBI, against Wright State.
Against the Raiders, Tech wasted no time, striking for five runs in the first inning as Sydney Love-Baker and Beth McCulley came home to score as Trimiar hit a three-run blast over the center field wall. Lewis scored on a Paxton Grimes single, then KaDedra Temple drove in Nicolle Nysted with a single to right.
The lead extended to 7-0 in the second as McCulley scored on Trimiar's double to left center. After the sophomore infielder took third on a wild pitch, Trimiar came home on Grimes' sacrifice fly to right.
Wright State added a run in the bottom of the second on a solo home run, but as the Golden Eagles scored in every inning, the Raiders struggled to keep pace. Tech put two more on the tally in the third as McCulley had an RBI single, then Lewis drove in Love-Baker on a sac fly.
A sacrifice fly and an error allowed two more Raiders to score, but the Golden Eagles put the game away with a five-spot in the top of the fourth. A Temple single, a wild pitch for Chandler Caldwell, a two-run Love-Baker homer to left center, then a bases-loaded walk to Nysted.
Just an inning later, Love-Baker hit her second round-tripper of the game as added insurance.
In the game against Dayton, neither team was able to push anything across for the first two-and-a-half frames. That was until Tech struck for a four-spot in the third. Love-Baker and McCulley reached to lead off the frame, then Lewis hit a three-run home run to straight-away center. Bryson helped out her own cause, driving in Jessie Lowery on a double to left center.
Tech extended the lead to 6-0 as Lewis collected an RBI single, then Nysted had a sacrifice fly to drive in McCulley from third.
However, Dayton led off the fifth with five runs. Three runs – one on a wild pitch, two on a double – saw the end of Bryson's day, then another RBI double allowed an inherited runner to score. One more single allowed another Flyer to cross, cutting Tech's lead back down to one at 6-5.
The Golden Eagles got one of the runs back in the bottom half of the frame as Love-Baker drove in Caldwell on a single through the left side. Dayton threatened in the top of the sixth, but left the bases loaded.
Tech added one more insurance run in the sixth as Temple drew a bases-loaded walk. However, Dayton gave one last effort, driving in one on a double, then leaving the game-tying runs on the corners as Arden was able to retire the last batter looking.
The Golden Eagles (3-1) close out the Mercer Invitational on Sunday as they take on Wright State at 8 a.m. Central.