UPDATE (2/20, 7:00 P.M.) — Due to weather and field conditions, Friday morning's game against Virginia has been canceled. As of right now, the remainder of Tech's scheduled games will be played as plans. Updates will be available on Twitter at @TTU_Softball and online at TTUsports.com.
By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – It's back on the road again for the Tennessee Tech softball team as the Golden Eagles head to Spartanburg for the Wings Etc. Classic, hosted by USC Upstate.
The Golden Eagles (6-4) enter the weekend after a 7-5 come-from-behind victory over Chattanooga on the last day of the Chattanooga Challenge, in which Tech went 2-3 for the tournament.
Tech will face four different teams in five games this weekend as the Golden Eagles will see Virginia twice, as well as contests against La Salle, Maine and tournament host USC Upstate. The Sunday game against Upstate will be broadcast on ESPN+ (subscription required).
Virginia has a 5-4 overall record, but went 2-3 last week at the Winthrop Tournament, falling to UNCG 2-0, host Winthrop 4-2 and Boston 2-0, while run-ruling Holy Cross 11-1 in six innings, then falling to Georgetown 7-6 in extras.
Virginia is led by Tori Gilbert at the plate with a team-high .414 average, three home runs and nine RBI. She also has 10 runs scored on the season, as well as three stolen bases. Savana Avilla also has double-digit hits with 12, while Bailey Winscott has five stolen bases.
In the circle, Aly Rayle has posted a 4-2 record and a 3.50 ERA, striking out 34 in 28 innings of work, while opponents are hitting .162 against her. Molly Grube has an 0-2 record, despite posting a 1.40 ERA record thus far with 12 strikeouts across 15 frames.
This is the first weekend of competition for La Salle, who finished 12-33 a year ago, 5-17 in the Atlantic 10. La Salle returns four of its top five run producers, led by Emily Conaway, who drove in 28 runs and scored 25 times last season with 12 doubles and six home runs. Cailey Joyce (.301) had seven home runs as well with 19 RBI.
Joyce also recorded an 8-14 record last season with a 4.32 ERA and a team-high 91 strikeouts. Morgan Orlowski posted a 4-16 record with 58 strikeouts.
Like the Explorers, Maine is opening up its 2020 campaign at this tournament. The Black Bears went 12-29 a year ago, 4-13 in America East Conference play. Keely Clark and Amanda Nee are back as Maine's top two run producers from a year ago after losing their top four, both striking for nine RBI each.
Maine does return its top four pitchers with Kyleigh O'Donnell (3.14 ERA, 70 Ks), Emily Reid (4.38 ERA, 55 Ks) and Lilly Volk (4.63 ERA, 17 Ks) each recording four wins last season.
USC Upstate enters the weekend with the best record, opening the campaign with an 8-2 start, including an 8-1 mark on its home field. The only blemish at home was a 5-3 defeat from Marshall – who Tech fell 6-1 to in Chattanooga.
The third tournament the Spartans have hosted this season, USC Upstate swept through the last one with relative ease, collecting four wins and three shutouts, outscoring teams 20-5. However, Upstate saw a six-game winning streak snapped on Wednesday in its first game away from home, falling 3-2 to Charlotte.
Savannah Grigsby leads USC Upstate at the plate with a .428 average, driving in eight runs. Tiffany Domingue, batting .424, has driven in a team-high 10.
Pitching is definitely the strength for the Spartans as their five hurlers have combined for a 1.57 staff ERA. Celina Sullivan (1.05 ERA, 25 Ks) has the most wins with a 3-1 mark, while Mallie Brown (2.15 ERA, 16 Ks) and Kasey Widmyer (0.00 ERA, 4 Ks) have recorded wins and no losses thus far. Erin Hill (2.00 ERA, 28 Ks) has a 2-1 mark.
For the Golden Eagles, Raleigh Lewis leads the way with a .379 average, collecting a team-high four home runs and 12 RBI so far. Sydney Love-Baker leads the team in runs scored with 13 and also has three home runs.
In the circle, Alyssa Arden has a 4-1 record with a save and 33 strikeouts, despite a 6.10 ERA through the first two weeks, which should see a significant drop in the coming games. Haeli Bryson has also had a good start to the season, posting a 2-3 record with a 4.61 ERA, while striking out 16.
Follow along with Tech softball on Twitter at @TTU_Softball or online at TTUsports.com.
Photo | Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information