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Tennessee State walks off Tech to send Golden Eagles to consolation bracket

Tennessee State walks off Tech to send Golden Eagles to consolation bracket

By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information

PEORIA, Ill. – This time of year, it's never over until the final out is recorded. Tennessee Tech might have had a slight cushion heading into the bottom of the seventh, but with as strong as Tennessee State has played this season, it's unwise to count them out.

The Golden Eagles, unfortunately, learned that lesson as the No. 3-seeded Tigers walked off the game with a two-run triple to right from Nahtali Simpson to give TSU the 9-8 victory Wednesday afternoon.

Tech (23-23) now falls into the consolation bracket, but the season is not over yet. The Golden Eagles will play again at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, taking on the loser of Game 6 between top-seeded Eastern Illinois and the winner between Wednesday night's game between Southern Indiana and SIUE.

S.J. Talley led the Golden Eagle assault as she went 3-for-4 with two RBI, including a solo home run. Carmen Betts also drove in two for Tech's cause, while Sofia Carroll also went 3-for-4.

TSU struck first with a two-run double in the second inning, but Tech claimed the lead in the top of the third with a four-run frame. Talley hit her solo shot to right field, then Betts gave Tech the lead with a double to center field, driving in Mac Fitzgerald and Abby Shoulders. Sydney Kirby then drove Betts in with a double down the left field line.

TSU answered with one run in the bottom half with a fielder's choice driving in one. Tech got one back in the fourth the same way as Fitzgerald grounded to short with the Tigers erasing Talley, but Jordan Key raced home.

Tech added one in the fifth as Ella Bishop's single to center allowed pinch-runner Brooklin Richardson to score, but TSU scored two in the bottom half with a pair of RBI singles. The Golden Eagles got two runs back as Key and Talley drove in Alina Schlageter and Bishop with RBI base knocks in the top of the seventh.

Leading 8-6, Lennon Spicer was able to get a grounder back to the circle for the first out. Rylie Giddens singled to first, then Laila Armstrong doubled down the left field line to drive Giddens in. After a grounder allowed Armstrong to take third, Ryla Traylor was hit by a pitch to put runners on the corner. On the first pitch, Simpson hit a rocket to right. Schlageter lost sight of it and tried to trail it down, but it hit off of the wall, allowing Armstrong and Traylor to score the game-winning runs.

Holly Ayala earned the win for the Tigers to improve to 7-5 on the season, allowing three runs on six hits with a walk and a strikeout. Starter Reina Castillo threw the first four innings, allowing five runs – four earned – on eight hits.

Emily York took a no-decision effort, throwing the first five innings. She allowed five runs on nine hits. Lennon Spicer was tagged with the loss, allowing four runs on four hits with a strikeout.

Photo | Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information

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