COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Tech softball team hosts Belmont this weekend for a three-game series. The series presents a perfect opportunity for Tech to honor its Golden Eagle Legends as it marks the first time the Purple and Gold will play Belmont as an Ohio Valley Conference opponent. Game one is slated to begin Saturday at 1 p.m.
Tech (16-18, 5-4) welcomes the Belmont Bruins from just down the road for a conference series. The Bruins have compiled a 12-23/2-11 OVC record. The Golden Eagles are prepared to bounce back from a 12-3 loss to #3/5 Tennessee.
Returning to conference play, the Purple and Gold will look to expand their winning ways after garnering a 3-1 conference outing last weekend. Tech's bats have highlighted the Golden Eagles play, with a stout lineup lead by Melody Christian. The senior leads a group of three Golden Eagles currently batting .300 or better, but Christian has collected a team-high 43 hits and 26 runs.
Against conference opponents, underclassmen Cortney Fry and Olivia Bennett have really come alive. Fry has connected for a second-best eight hits but Bennett has been the silent weapon with a .533 conference slugging percentage thanks in part to a walk-off three-run dinger by the sophomore against SEMO.
Tech's pitching staff has also collected a few key wins, marking their conference ERA at 2.05. In her last two outings, senior Claudia Harke has had highlight victories for the Golden Eagles. Harke only gave up five hits in OVC action last weekend, holding UT Martin to a .087 batting average. The right-hander collected two shutouts, downing UT Martin 3-0 and SEMO 4-0. Harke's shutouts were her second and third complete game shutouts of her career. Against UT Martin, Harke collected four strikeouts, three of them called, followed by a five strikeout performance against SEMO, both career highs.
Belmont: Tech leads the series 24-3, The Golden Eagles played Belmont for the first time since 2010 last season, but despite the small distance between the two institutions, the match-up was played in Chattanooga at the Frost Classic. The Bruins took the contest 6-5.
- Tech is 16-18 overall this season after dropping a 12-3 decision against #3/5 Tennessee in Knoxville.
- As a team, Tech is hitting .268, posting 140 runs scored, 116 RBI and a .339 on-base percentage through 34 games.
- The Golden Eagle pitching staff combines for a 2.05 conference ERA allowing 17 earned runs in 58.0 innings pitched in the OVC.
- Senior Melody Christian opened the season on a tear, connecting for at least one hit in each of her first 11 games of the season.
- Cortney Fry extended a streak of her own at ETSU, connecting for at least one hit in four straight games, including two hits in each of her last two outings at Eastern Kentucky.
- Three players have scored 15+ runs for the Golden Eagles, including Christian, with a team-high 26 runs and is the team's stolen bases leader.
- Christian is fourth in the OVC with 14 stolen bases on 17 attempts.
- Freshman Madison Taylor has a .329 batting average, collecting a multiple career-firsts during the opening weekend, including her three hits, four putouts, and 2 RBI.
- Five Golden Eagles have recorded triples, including newcomer Chelsea Burgess.
- Five Golden Eagles have hit home runs [Bennett (2), Eldridge (2), Hooper (2), Sakamoto (2), B. Spalding (2), C. Spalding (2), Gibbs, Taylor].
- Ketchum was named adidas® Ohio Valley Conference Pitcher of the Week (Feb. 11). Ketchum gave up just two hits in 10 innings of work.
- In a trip to the sunshine state, Tech ended the Under Armour Showcase 3-2, with key wins over Maine, LIU Brooklyn and Providence.
- Tech finished the Purple and Gold Challenge 0-1, losing its only contest to IPFW, 8-0.
- Tech posted a 2-2 record at the KSU Classic. The Golden Eagles opened the tournament sweeping its first two games with wins over Liberty (8 innings) and Mercer.
- The Golden Eagles finished the Eagle Round Robin hosted by Georgia Southern with a 2-2 record. The weekend was highlighted by a 3-1 victory over Akron as sophomore Taylor Ketchum threw a one-hitter Feb. 10.
- First year head coach Bonnie Bynum picked up her first win at Tennessee Tech after the team downed St. John's, 4-3 on Feb. 9. The Golden Eagles defeated St. John's thanks to a walk-off single by senior Chanelle Spalding, marking the first win against the Red Storm in program history and the first victory of the 2013 season.