JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -- If there was a fire in Johnson City, Kendall Hooper (in photo) was the spark. The junior went 4-for-7, swinging .571 in two games, blasting two home runs and a double for Tennessee Tech striving to keep her team in the hunt for two non-conference wins.
However, East Tennessee State made its way through the smoke in two comeback victories, edging the Golden Eagles, 9-7 in extra innings, and 6-5.
Tech opened the doubleheader with a 2-0 lead and jumped to a 6-1 lead thanks to three runs in the fourth, Hooper's first home run in the fifth and a home run by Christian Gibbs in the sixth. But, East Tennessee State stormed back in the bottom of the seventh, scoring six runs to send the contest into extra innings.
Sophomore Taylor Ketchum (9-6) took the loss, pitching six innings, holding the Bucs hitless through the fourth, but lost steam in the seventh. Freshman Hannah Weaver took the circle in search of the save, but couldn't fend off the Buc offense, giving up four hits and five runs.
The Golden Eagles, stunned by the comeback, took four innings to get back into the second game. Down 4-0, the Golden Eagles scored three runs sparked by back-to-back home runs by Hooper and freshman Olivia Bennett, both over the left field fence.
Tech rode the hot streak into the fifth, scoring two runs compliments of leadoff hitter Melody Christian and Hannah Eldridge to take a 5-4 lead. The Bucs again proved to be too much, scoring two more runs in the fifth, to edge the Golden Eagles, 6-5.
The Purple and Gold return to the friendly confines of the Tech Softball Field Saturday and Sunday to take on two Ohio Valley Conference opponents in a pair of doubleheaders. The Golden Eagles will host rival UT Martin Saturday and take on Southeast Missouri Sunday. Admission to all games is free.