Offense lights up the night as softball beats Bucs twice

Brittney Spalding watches her two-run home run (photo by Rob Schabert)
Brittney Spalding watches her two-run home run (photo by Rob Schabert)

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Seven Golden Eagles drove in runs and four drove in multiple as the Tennessee Tech softball team won games of 5-1 and 11-3 over East Tennessee State on Tuesday.

Senior Holly Thomas threw her 12th complete game of the season in which she's given up one or fewer earned runs while freshman Erica Tuck pitched a perfect game into the fourth inning. 

Junior Brittney Spalding batted in three runs and scored a pair while sophomore Kendall Hooper scored four runs on the day. 

Tech took a lead early as senior Brooke Basten and Spalding doubled while senior Whitney Cummings hit a home run to dead center, giving the Golden Eagles a 3-0 advantage. Two more runs were put on the board in the third as Basten and Hooper each reached safely and came in to score on an ETSU error. 

The Bucs scored their lone run in the sixth as Jackie Baird battled through a ten-pitch at-bat to hit an RBI double to left.

Thomas took the win, walking only one while striking out three en route to her 15th victory of the season. Katie Wolff suffered the loss, allowing three earned runs on six hits and two walks.

Tuck was unstoppable to begin the nightcap, retiring the first 11 batters without allowing a single ball to reach the outfield. 

The Golden Eagles, on the other hand, couldn't seem to be satisfied at the plate, recording multiple hits in all but one inning. Tech put five runners on base over the first two innings, but was unable to score until the third. 

Singles by Hooper and freshmen Christian Gibbs and Angi Sakamoto, combined with a pair of errors by the Bucs, allowed the Golden Eagles to hang three on the scoreboard for the early lead.

With runners at first and second with two outs in the fourth, Tech went on a tear, belting five straight hits to score five runs. Chanelle and Brittney Spalding and Cassie Garrett each singled, followed by a two-RBI double by freshman Hannah Eldridge to extend the lead to 8-0.

Just one out from being mercy-ruled, the Bucs hit a double, advanced on a wild pitch, and came in to score on a called illegal pitch to keep themselves alive. They would tack on two more in the top of the sixth off two hits and a Tech error to make it 8-3.

With the rain falling, Brittney Spalding hit a two-run home run to left center to put Tech within one of the eight-point advantage needed for the mercy rule. Eldridge then reached on an error and scored the walkoff run on a two-out RBI double by Sakamoto, giving Tech the 11-3 victory.

Tuck notched the six-inning win, allowing only four hits and one earned run while striking out a pair. ETSU's Shelby Morris was tagged with the loss as the Golden Eagles scored 11 runs on 14 hits and drew two walks.

The Golden Eagles return to action on Wednesday, hosting Appalachian State in a doubleheader starting at 3 p.m. Admission is free at the Tech Softball Field.