By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
RICHMOND, Ky. – On Monday, everything seemed to be going Tennessee Tech's way. Haeli Bryson was cruising in the circle, the Golden Eagle bats had put together a lead and the defense was holding strong.
It all changed in the sixth inning.
After a leadoff walk, errors creeped into Tech's game. It built and built and as the adage goes, "When it rains, it pours." Eastern Kentucky rallied for five runs in the inning to take the lead and eventually a 6-3 victory to sweep the Golden Eagles in their final meeting before the OVC-founding Colonels head to the Atlantic Sun Conference.
Tech (18-24, 12-15 Ohio Valley Conference) returns to action on Wednesday as it heads to Bowling Green to take on final non-conference foe Western Kentucky. First pitch against the Hilltoppers is slated for 5 p.m.
The Golden Eagles chased starter Tori Peterson from the circle after the opening inning as she allowed two runs on three hits with a walk and no strikeouts. Mackenzie Fitzgerald reached on an error on the first pitch, then stole second. Jessie Lowery collected the first of her two hits with a single through the right side of the field.
Fitzgerald attempted to go home on the play, but was thrown out at the plate on a 9-2 relay. After a fly out, Sydney-Love Baker doubled along the third-base line, putting runners at second and third, then Bryson drew a full-count walk to load the bases.
Beth McCulley took advantage, collecting two RBI as she hit a single back to the circle, creating enough room for Lowery and Love-Baker to score.
Zoe Mihalicz, the OVC's Player of the Week, picked up another RBI against the Golden Eagle as Sammi Miller and Mihalicz had back-to-back hits, the latter a double to left center to score Miller.
From there, outside of both teams stranding two in the third inning, it was relatively quiet until the sixth.
After a leadoff walk to Carly Robinson, Vianna Barron hit a single to short. The play led into an errant throw into another, allowing Robinson's pinch runner to score and Barron to reach third. Ariyana Miranda hit a double to a diving Shelby Penning. Jeanay Riley drove in Miranda on a sacrifice fly, clearing the bases.
It wasn't long before the Colonels put something together again as Miranda Lopez and Jaelyn Sanders collected back-to-back singles, then Miller hit a two-run single into left center. By the time Tech got out of the frame, EKU scored five runs on six hits and three errors.
The Golden Eagles didn't go down without a fight in the top of the seventh. Nicolle Nysted came in as a pinch hitter, then led off with a solo home run to right, making it a 6-3 game. After an Alexis Trimiar groundout, Fitzgerald and Lowery collected back-to-back singles, then Love-Baker drew a full-count walk to load the bases with two down. Bryson worked the count to 2-2, and fouled off four pitches, before flying out to the second baseman to end the game.
Bryson took the loss, falling to 8-7 on the season, as she allowed just one earned run – six total – on eight hits, walking three and striking out one. Alyssa Arden came in to slow down the onslaught in the sixth, throwing the final third of a frame as she yielded one hit.
Mollie Paulick improved to 10-0 on the season as she pitched the final six innings, allowing one run on six hits, walking one and striking out seven.