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Tech's Saturday games cancelled, will play TSU twice starting at 9 a.m. Sunday

Tech's Saturday games cancelled, will play TSU twice starting at 9 a.m. Sunday

UPDATE 2; With more rain expected in Nashville, Saturday's games have been cancelled and Tech/TSU will play two Sunday morning, starting at 9 a.m.


UPDATE: With inclement weather in Nashville, the start times for today's Tennessee Tech at Tennessee State softball games have been delayed. No official start time has been determined as of yet. Details will be relayed once they are available.


By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information

NASHVILLE – It's the final week of the Ohio Valley Conference softball regular season, and for the Tennessee Tech softball team, the Golden Eagles already know that they're going to the postseason tournament next week at the Louisville Slugger Sports Complex in Peoria, Ill.

Tech can not drop in the standings, its seventh-place spot secured as a minimum. The Golden Eagles (21-22, 11-13 OVC) can still finish as high as fourth – with a sweep over Tennessee State this weekend and Western Illinois sweep over Southern Indiana. UT Martin and Lindenwood both face the top two teams in the conference standings – Eastern Illinois and Southeast Missouri – with Tech two games back from both of those teams. That presents a window where the Golden Eagles could move into fifth or sixth.

Regardless, Tech's focus is Tennessee State. The Tigers, currently third in the conference standings, stand with a 24-22 record, 15-9 in the OVC. TSU had won six of seven games with sweeps over SIUE and Western Illinois, but a loss to Chattanooga and two defeats at Southern Indiana in a three-game set have the Tigers facing three losses in their last four games.

Tech will head to Tiger Field on Saturday for a three-game set, starting with a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 2 p.m. The start time was moved up from the originally scheduled 4 p.m. start with potential weather over the weekend. Sunday's start time was also moved up to 1 p.m.

The all-time series has been dominated by the Golden Eagles, who have a 72-16 record since their first meeting in 1987. Last season joined 2008 as the only two seasons in program history Tennessee State won the season series.

Statistically, the Golden Eagles stand just ahead of the Tigers in batting. Tech has posted a .282 batting average this season, TSU .273. Both teams have 175 runs batted in, while the Tigers have scored 206 runs, Tech 195. With TSU playing four more games than the Golden Eagles, the offensive numbers are about as even as they could get.

In the circle, Tech has a 3.66 ERA with TSU tossing a 4.02. The Golden Eagles have six more strikeouts on the season and have allowed 13 fewer home runs, but the Tigers have allowed the fewest walks of any OVC team with 87.

Nahtali Simpson stands among the conference top 10 in batting average with a .352 mark to rank eighth overall, hitting five home runs. She is tied with Laila Armstrong (.325) for the team lead in runs scored with 29 and ranks second in RBI with 25.

Onnika Spencer (.330) leads the Tigers with six home runs and 29 RBI.

Caitlyn Manus has seen most of the action in the circle for TSU, working 129 2/3 innings, allowing 86 total runs – 71 earned – with an 11-11 overall record. She has walked 48 batters and struck out 99 with opponents hitting .265 against her. Reina Castillo (7-6, 3.31 ERA) and Holly Ayala (6-5, 5.35 ERA) have combined for 39 walks and 63 strikeouts with a 13-11 combined record.

The Golden Eagles are led at the plate by Carmen Betts, who has a .379 average on the season. She has 39 RBI, which ranks third in the OVC, collecting 12 doubles, three triples and three home runs. Betts is tied with Sydney Kirby (.317) on doubles and home runs. In the last eight games alone, Kirby is hitting .458 with 13 RBI, four runs scored, four doubles and two home runs.

Mac Fitzgerald remains among the nation's leaders in stolen bases, going a perfect 34-for-34 to stand fifth after Wednesday's contests, trailing Jackson State's Kalyiah Gibson (39), USC Upstate's Denver Lauer (39), Cal State-Fullerton's Megan Delgadillo (36) and Nevada's Chelie Senini (35). Fitzgerald is third in stolen bases per game, averaging 0.79 per game.

Payton Wagner leads the Golden Eagles with an 8-4 record and a 2.06 earned run average, walking 34 and striking out 35. Emily York (7-4, 2.47 ERA) has seven saves on the season, ranking fourth nationally behind Missouri's Taylor Pennell (11), FGCU's Angelina Bonilla (9) and Princeton's Brielle Wright (8).

Photo | Jim Dillon

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