February 12, 2012

Thomas pitches Golden Eagles to season's first win

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Senior Holly Thomas did the work in the circle without allowing an earned run, Chanelle Spalding and Kayla Floyd combined for five hits, and Emma Woo threw out the potential tying run attempting to steal in the bottom of the seventh as the Tennessee Tech softball team claimed its first win of the season early Sunday morning.

Tech (1-4) downed Stephen F. Austin, 3-2, to capture the consolation championship of the Seminole Classic at Florida State.

Thomas didn't yield an earned run while pitching the entire seven innings to earn the win. She walked five and struck out four, and rolled through a stretch in which she retired 13 of 15 batters.

The Golden Eagles staked their senior hurler to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Melody Christian reached with a one-out, bunt single and Spalding followed with a single to center. Both runners advanced into scoring position on an infield groundout, setting the stage for Thomas to deliver an RBI bunt single to make it 1-0.

Spalding made it 2-0 as the Golden Eagles pulled off a successful double steal.

The Lady 'Jacks loaded the bases in the bottom of the first but Thomas got out of the jam, and shut down SFA through the fifth. She retired 13 of the next 15 batters, allowing just a walk and a single in the stretch.

Meanwhile, Tech made it 3-0 when Christian ripped a drive into right field that was mishandled for an error and the speedy junior raced all the way around to score an unearned run.

SFA finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth with two unearned runs to make it 3-2. They got back-to-back singles with one out, then put both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. An infield error allowed both runners to score before Thomas coaxed a pop up from the next batter to end the threat and preserve the lead.

Tech had runners on base in every inning but the sixth, and had a chance to add to the lead in the seventh but SFA stifled a double steal to end the inning and keep it a one-run difference.  

That tying run was aboard in the bottom of the ninth via a walk, when Woo, a sophomore catcher from Santa Monica, Calif., threw out the base runner attempting to steal second base.

The right side of the infield accounted for five of Tech's seven hits, with first baseman Chanelle Spalding going 3-for-3 and right fielder Kayla Floyd going 2-for-2.

SFA's Carlie Thomas also pitched a complete game, working seven innings and allowing seven hits and three runs, only two of which were earned. She walked two and struck out seven. Cadie Weaver was 2-for-2, accounting for two of the Lady 'Jacks three hits.

The victory allowed Tech to avenge a 3-2 loss to Stephen F. Austin on Friday.

Tech will head to Athens, Ga., next weekend for five contests at the University of Georgia Bulldog Invitational.  The Golden Eagles are scheduled to face Buffalo on Friday, Winthrop and Connecticut on Saturday, and finish on Sunday with games against Western Illinois and Georgia.