Tech takes two from Belmont in non-conference contests

NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Freshman Whitney Cummings hit a three-run home run in the eighth inning to lift the Tennessee Tech softball team over Belmont in a Golden Eagle sweep as they won 4-3 and 6-3. Sophomore Katie Betry had an outstanding day from the plate, moving from third to first on the team in batting average at .326.

Game one started off slow for both teams, but the Golden Eagles (23-23, 9-6 OVC) pulled ahead in the fifth and refused to let go of the lead.

Tech got two runners in scoring position with just one out in the first. After a single by sophomore Lacie Coquerille, a Belmont error allowed Cummings to reach and advance to second. Sophomore Callie Schmidt then drew a 3-2 walk to load the bases, but was stranded at first as Tech struck out twice to end the inning.

The Golden Eagles put two more runners on base in the third with a Cummings single and an error by the Bruins (9-23, 1-9 A-Sun) allowed Betry to reach. Once again, however, Tech was unable to get the ball out of the infield and remained scoreless.

The first run of the game came in the fourth after two Bruins hit back-to-back singles and were bunted over to second and third with one out. A wild pitch by Thomas allowed one run to score, but the Tech defense stood strong, not allowing the other runner to come home.

Freshman Cassidy Skeen led off the fifth with a brilliant bunt single. A single by Coquerille through the left side and an error by the left fielder scored Skeen from first, tying the game at one apiece. Back-to-back-to-back singles by Betry, schmidt, and sophomore Kaleigh Gates drove in two more runs, giving Tech the 3-1 advantage.

Coquerille opened the sixth with another single to left field and, after advancing to second on a passed ball, came in to score on a single by Betry.

Belmont threatened in the bottom of the sixth with two outs. Hannah Brenzie hit a line drive single into right field and was driven in by Elly Bennett's third home run of the season.

Thomas took the win, striking out three and not walking a single batter. From the plate, she went 1-3 with a single and a walk.

Belmont jumped ahead early in game two, scoring a run in the first after a pair of singles and a fielder's choice.

The Golden Eagles tied things up in the fourth when freshman Erin Cutlip led off the inning with a single up the middle. She was bunted over by Coquerille, then came in to score on a Betry single to right field.

Tech struck again in the fifth with freshman Brooke Basten pinch running for Thomas, who walked on five pitches. Basten stole second, then advanced to third on an error by Sara Bentley. She collided with Belmont pitcher Sammi Parks as she scores on a wild pitch, putting Tech ahead 2-1.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Bruins tied the game when pinch-runner Erin Gier scored on a fielder's choice after being bunted over by Stayci Cook.

Cutlip was placed on second, due to the tiebreaker rule, in the eighth and scored on a single by Gates with just one out in the inning. A double by Betry put runners at second and third for Cummings, who belted her team-high seventh home run, putting Tech up 6-2.

Belmont managed only one run in the bottom of the inning as Thomas got all three Bruin batters to ground out.

Senior Kristina Hortert pitched the first six innings for the Golden Eagles, allowing just three hits and one run while striking out one in her no-decision.

Thomas pitched the final two innings, picking up her 12th win of the season after giving up only two hits. On the offensive side, Thomas went 1-4 with three walks and just one strikeout.

Betry went 5-7 on the day with three RBIs and two runs scored. Coquerille went 3-5 with two runs and an RBI. Gates was 2-4 with a run and an RBI while Cummings had three RBIs and a run scored.

Tech will travel to Jacksonville State for a three-game series this weekend, starting at 1 p.m. on Saturday.