By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
RICHMOND, Ky. – The Tennessee Tech softball team battled on Sunday, collecting 15 total hits on the day. But while a rally was nowhere to be seen against Eastern Kentucky in game one, the Golden Eagles took the lead in game two, but it was short-lived as the Ohio Valley Conference-leading Colonels retook the advantage.
The Colonels won the first game 3-1, then 4-3 in the later effort. The final match of the series is scheduled for a 1 p.m. Central start at Gertrude Hood Field. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ (subscription required).
Despite allowing a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning, Haeli Bryson had a good effort, yielding just three total runs on the day on eight hits, walking three and striking out five as she fell to 8-6 on the season.
Tori Peterson picked up her 14th win of the year as she allowed one run on eight hits across six-and-a-third, walking two and striking out one. Mollie Paulick came on in relief after Peterson allowed a leadoff single to pinch-hitter Brooklin Richardson. Paulick retired the next two batters before Peterson was returned to the circle to face Nicolle Nysted in a pinch-hit role.
With eight hits and two walks earned, the Golden Eagles ended up stranding nine baserunners. Beth McCulley was the only one to make it across, picking up the run in the fourth as Sydney Love-Baker eyed a single through the right side.
Shelby Penning went 3-for-3 in the contest, Tech's only multi-hit collector. She also went 1-for-3 in game two to finish 4-for-6 on the day. Love-Baker was the only hitter with multiple hits in game two, going 2-for-3.
Sammi Miller reached on a fielding error at short to open the home half of the first, then Zoe Mihalicz went yard, homering to the left-field side. She repeated her effort to lead off the third inning.
In game two, Alyssa Arden saw a lot of fours in her line score, allowing four earned runs on four hits with four walks and four strikeouts across six innings of work as she was tagged with her 13th loss of the year. Paulick remained undefeated as she improved to 9-0 on the year, earning the victory in relief as she tossed the final two-and-two-thirds.
Samantha Reynoso pitched the first four-and-a-third innings before a Tech rally in the fifth inning prompted the hook. She allowed three runs on five hits as she walked one and struck out three in the no-decision effort.
Mihalicz hit her third home run of the day, with Miranda Lopez standing on second, carrying the ball to left center to take a 2-0 lead.
Tech took the lead as Love-Baker led off with a single to left. Following a Carmen Betts liner to left, Alexis Trimiar roped a single through the left side. The EKU left fielder misplayed the ball, allowing Love-Baker to reach third.
Mackenzie Fitzgerald stood in and, with a 2-1 count, hit a double into left field. As the Colonels tried to erase the scoring Love-Baker, Reynosa threw the ball away, allowing Trimiar's pinch-runner, Chandler Caldwell. It doesn't go down as a home run in the scorebook – a double and a two-base throwing error at the mound – but Fitzgerald made it all the way around on the play, giving Tech a 3-2 lead.
The Colonels got two runs back in the fifth to retake the lead. With one down, Miller and Mihalicz both drew walks and advanced to second and third on a wild pitch. Carly Robinson lined a single down the third-base line, giving the runners room to come home.
Tech had a chance in the sixth to retake the lead. McCulley led off with a double to left center, then Penning singled between second and third, giving McCulley room to move over to third. Love-Baker hit a grounder to third, forcing McCulley to stay put, but the ball was bobbled, allowing Love-Baker to reach and load the bases.
Paulick coaxed a lineout to third, a strikeout and a flyout to left field to end the threat.