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Offensive explosion leads Tech in opener as Golden Eagles split first day at Chattanooga Challenge

Offensive explosion leads Tech in opener as Golden Eagles split first day at Chattanooga Challenge

By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Friday's games were a complete contrast for the Tennessee Tech softball team. Against Indiana State, the Golden Eagles saw their offense explode for 11 run, taking an 11-3 victory over the Sycamores to open the Chattanooga Challenge.

In the second game, Tech (5-2) was only able to muster a solo home run as Bowling Green's first outing of the season quieted the Golden Eagles' bats in a 3-1 defeat in the second game.

Alyssa Arden (W, 3-0) earned the victory as she allowed just one earned run among three total on six hits, walking five and striking out seven.

Her effort was cushioned as the Golden Eagles struck for six runs in the opening frame, bolstered by five hits and three Sycamore errors. Raleigh Lewis, the reigning Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Week, drove in Tech's first run with bases-loaded single to left to score Sydney Love-Baker. Beth McCulley and Paxton Grimes scored on a throwing error at second, then Alexis Trimiar drove in Jessie Lowery on a single up the middle.

Shelby Penning had an infield single back to the pitcher, then an error at short on a Love-Baker grounder on her second appearance of the inning, allowed Trimiar and Penning to score.

Indiana State put up two runs in the bottom of the second with two bases-loaded walks.

The Golden Eagles answered with two more scores in the fourth as Lewis picked up her second RBI of the day – and 11th of the season – on a double to left field. Lowery then hit into a sacrifice grounder to short, bringing home Nicolle Nysted.

Tech forced the run rule in the sixth inning as Nysted and Penning each had bases-loaded walks to drive in runs – the sixth for the Golden Eagles this season – and a fielder's choice on a KaDedra Temple grounder to short allowed both the freshman to reach and Lowery to score.

Arielle Blankenship took the loss for ISU, allowing 10 runs – six earned – on nine hits as she walked four and struck out two in 5 1/3 innings. Peyton Ottersbach worked the final two-thirds, allowing a run on three walks.

In the second game of the day, a run in the fifth and two runs in the sixth spoiled a solid outing for Haeli Bryson as the sophomore went six innings, allowing three runs on seven hits as she walked one and struck out a career-high six batters.

Any other day and that might have been enough to earn the victory, but Bowling Green freshman Payton Gottshall had nearly every Tech batter flummoxed – all but Trimiar, who drove in Tech's lone run with her second home run of the season in the top of the fifth.

In all, Gottshall struck out 17 batters, the most in a Tech game since April 16, 2011, when the Golden Eagles struck out 20 times against Southeastern Conference foe Kentucky. Gottshall walked one and yielded the lone hit in the complete-game effort. Trimiar's home run broke a nine-batter strikeout string.

The Golden Eagles continue action in the Chattanooga Challenge on Saturday as they take on Western Kentucky at 10 a.m. Central, followed by a nightcap against Marshall at 3 p.m.

Photo | Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information

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