Golden Eagles take a pair from Cumberland

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Led by a 7-for-8 performance by Melody Christian and a pair of home runs from Whitney Cummings, the Tennessee Tech softball team defeated visiting Cumberland University in both ends of a doubleheader on Thursday. Tech earned an 8-0 victory in five innings in game one before dropping the Bulldogs, 6-1, in the nightcap.

Tech improved to 20-26 overall this season, while Cumberland fell to 19-26 following the pair of games.

Tech 8, Cumberland 0
The Golden Eagles put a runner into scoring position in both the first and second innings, but it took until the third inning when Chanelle Spalding hit a single through the left side of the infield for Tech to get on the scoreboard. Spalding's single brought home Christian from third base to give TTU a 1-0 lead. Christian led off the inning with a single to right field, stole second base and moved to third on a wild pitch before coming home on Spalding's RBI single.

Tech added to its lead later in the third inning when a double steal brought home Spalding from third. Samantha Everett took off from first base, drawing a throw from the Cumberland catcher, and Spalding raced home from third without a throw to put the Golden Eagles ahead, 2-0.

Jessica Steele kept the hits coming for TTU in the bottom of the fourth inning as she put an inside-out swing on the first pitch she saw, driving it to the right-center field wall for a double. Anna Zdroik followed with a walk, and one batter later, Steele came home following a throwing error on the CU second baseman. Christian came to the plate next and singled to put runners on the corners, and Kaleigh Gates roped a single to left field to bring home both runners and give the Golden Eagles a 5-0 advantage.

With two outs still in the fourth inning, Cummings came to the plate and hammered a pitch over the fence in right-center field for her seventh homer of the season. The two-run shot gave Tech a 7-0 lead after four innings.

After a scoreless top of the fifth inning, Tech needed just one run in the fifth to win by the eight-run rule. Christian came to the plate with a runner in scoring position and delivered a single up the middle to bring home Abbey Hayes to end the game. Hayes started the two-out rally with a single up the middle, and Callie Schmidt followed with a walk to set up Christian.

Christian finished game one of the doubleheader 4-for-4 with two runs scored, an RBI and a stolen base.

Maddie Schmissrauter (8-7) and Cummings combined to pitch five scoreless innings for Tech. Schmissrauter allowed three hits while striking out five in four innings of work as she earned her eighth victory of the season. Cummings came in for the final inning and struck out one of the four batters she faced.

Tech 6, Cumberland 1
Christian helped the Golden Eagles get off to a good start in the second game as she led off the bottom half of the first inning with a single before stealing second base. Two batters later, Kaleigh Gates doubled to right-center to score Christian and put TTU ahead, 1-0.

That score remained until the fourth inning when Cumberland scored an unearned run to tie the game at 1-1.

In Tech's half of the fourth, Cummings hit her second home run of the day to deep center field to lead off the inning and jumpstart the TTU offense.

Samantha Everett followed Cummings with a single up the middle, and Holly Thomas hit a line drive shot over the left field fence to give Tech a 4-1 cushion. The home run was the third of the year for Thomas.

Still in the fourth, Brooke Basten single to center field and Christian matched the effort to put two runners on base. Chanelle Spalding came to the plate next and drilled an RBI single to left field that scored Basten from second, giving Tech a 5-1 lead. The Golden Eagles added one more run on an RBI groundout by Gates that made the score 6-1.

Thomas started the game at pitcher for the Golden Eagles and allowed just two hits while striking out four in four innings of work. The sophomore earned her 10th win of the season.

Claudia Harke pitched the final three innings of the game and allowed just one hit while striking out three.

Christian finished the second game of the doubleheader 3-for-4 with two runs scored and  a stolen base, while Everett also had a multi-hit performance as she went 2-for-3 with a run scored.

Tech plays next this weekend at Morehead State. The Golden Eagles will have two games on Saturday beginning at 12 p.m. before a Sunday game that is also schedule to get underway at 12 p.m.