March 13, 2012

Golden Eagles edged at WKU in 1-0 pitcher's duel

Tech hosts UT Martin in three-game series this weekend

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- Claudia Harke and Taylor Ketchum (photo) combined to toss a three-hitter Tuesday afternoon, but the Golden Eagle offense was also limited to three hits as Western Kentucky claimed a 1-0 victory at the WKU Softball Field.

Western Kentucky's Kim Wagner struck out a career-high 11 batters and the Lady Toppers scored the lone run of the game in the fourth inning on an RBI fielder's choice by Mallorie Sulaski.

Tech (9-12) had the first hit of the game, a double by Brooke Basten in the top of the first. Wagner, however, struck out the side. Ketchum did her part to keep WKU (18-7) off the scoreboard early, allowing one baserunner on a walk in the first two innings.

The Lady Toppers got their first hit of the game in the third inning. Karavin Dew led off the frame with a single. After a sacrifice bunt by Olivia Watkins moved Dew to second, Shawna Sadler hit a single to left center, moving Dew to third base. Sadler was thrown trying to stretch her hit into a double and Ketchum then got Kelsie Mattox to flyout to end the inning.

The Golden Eagles' threatened to score in the top of the fourth. Basten was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Holly Thomas then singled through the left side of the infield, giving the Golden Eagles' runners at first and second. Wagner got a strikeout and a ground out. With runners at second and third with two outs, Wagner coaxed another strikeout to end the inning.

Preslie Cruce led off the bottom of the fourth with a double to left center. Tennessee Tech then made a substitution in the circle, bringing in Harke to pitch. Harke walked Amanda Thomas and Katrina Metoyer to load the bases with no outs. Mallorie Sulaski then hit a blooper to center field, scoring Cruce. Tiffany Gooch, who pinch-ran for Thomas, was thrown out at third after holding up on the hit. Harke held the Lady Toppers to one run, getting Laura Smith to fly out and Dew to ground out.

Wagner made WKU's one run hold up, putting the Golden Eagles down in order in each of the last three innings. Four of her 11 strikeouts came in the sixth and seventh innings.

The Golden Eagles return home this weekend to open a six-game homestand, hosting UT Martin in an OVC series. The two squads will tangle Saturday in a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m., with a single game Sunday, also set for a 1 p.m. start.

Saturday's games will be the first Sharon Speiser Memorial Weekend, with fans invited to make donations toward raising breast cancer awareness. The event is in memory of Sharon Speiser, whose two daughters and two neices all played for the Golden Eagles.