By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – As the Tennessee Tech softball team honored its senior class, they all came up big in the season finale leading to a doubleheader split on Saturday. UT Martin took the day's first game 2-0, then the Golden Eagles won the second 7-4.
With those players coming through and helping the Golden Eagles (19-30, 13-20 Ohio Valley Conference) earn a victory in the finale, Tech builds some momentum for the future.
Alyssa Arden picked up the victory in the later game, earning her 10th win of the season. She allowed four runs – three earned – on seven hits as she walked two and struck out one. Seeley Layne took the loss, allowing five unearned runs on six hits over four frames, allowing one walk and striking out three. Emily Brown threw the final two frames, allowing two runs on four hits, walking one and striking out none.
After Mackenzie Fitzgerald reached in the bottom of the first on a triple, Lowery hit a grounder to second, but the ball was misplayed, allowing Fitzgerald to score. The Skyhawks evened the score in the top of the second as Aalia Bivens hit a double to center field, then an error on Macey Neals fly ball allowed Bivens to score.
Tech put four runs on the board in the third inning. Fitzgerald reached on a fielder's choice as the Skyhawks erased Carmen Betts at second. Lowery hit an infield single to short, then a McCulley grounder allowed the runners to advance. Nicolle Nysted hit the ball back to the circle, but the throw to first sailed over the first baseman, allowing Fitzgerald and Lowery to score. Haeli Bryson hit an infield single to second and took second on a throw across the field trying to get Nysted. Sydney Love-Baker drove the two runners in with an single up the middle to make it a 5-1 game.
UT Martin scored two runs in the sixth as Kaitlyn Kelley hitting a two-run home run to left.
The Golden Eagles responded with a pair of runs in the home half of the inning. Love-Baker reached with a full-count walk, then Paxton Grimes reached on a fielder's choice as UTM took out pinch-runner Brooklin Richardson at second. A wild pitch allowed Grimes to move up to second, then Richter moved her over to third on a ground out to second.
Tech then got four consecutive infield base hits as Betts singled to second to drive in Grimes, Fitzgerald singled to third, Lowery singled back to the circle, then McCulley singled to short to drive in pinch-runner Chandler Caldwell.
Paige Clark, who was 4-for-8 on the day, drove in Neal with a double to left center for the Skyhawks' final run.
In game one, Erin Gallagher held Tech to three hits with a walk, while striking out five. Bryson dueled her in the circle, but was tagged for two runs on 10 hits in the seven-inning effort, walking none and striking out five.
Both of the Skyhawks' runs scored in the bottom of the third as Shyanne Sheffield drove in Clark and Anna Blanton with a single to left field.
Photo | Emily Johnston, TTU Athletics