COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- In their final non-conference contest of the season, the Golden Eagles faced in-state rival Chattanooga. In a tight game, the Lady Mocs ultimately stole a 2-1 victory under the lights at Tech Softball Stadium.
Tech was held to five hits with Angi Sakamoto and Brittney Spalding both connecting for two hits apiece. Taylor Ketchum (13-8) took the loss, pitching her 15th complete game of 2013.
The Lady Mocs were the first team on the scoreboard in the first inning after a lead-off triple by Chattanooga's Sam Taylor. The following batters grounded and popped up to sophomore Hannah Eldridge at shortstop.
Tech countered in the bottom of the first as Angi Sakamoto took the lead-off position for the first time this season. Sakamoto singled down the right field line and advanced on back-to-back fielder's choice, giving Chanelle Spalding her 16th RBI of the season.
In the second, the Golden Eagles had a chance to take the lead. Brittney Spalding doubled followed by Chelsea Burgess earning a free ticket after being hit by a pitch for the 11th time this season. With batters on first and second and no outs, Madison Taylor struck out for the first out. Cortney Fy advanced both runners but grounded out on a 5-3 play. Christian Gibbs grounded out to short stop, leaving two runners in scoring position stranded.
Chattanooga scored its winning run in the third. Former Golden Eagle Tyler Templet popped out to second baseman, but Taylor collected her second hit of the game. The Lady Mocs capitalized on the next play when Sara Poteat reached on a fielder's choice, as Taylor was thrown out at second. In the next moments, most of the crowd turned away, but Poteat took advantage and stole second in the midst of Golden Eagle down time.
With the winning run in scoring position, the Lady Mocs took advantage and sent Poteat across home plate the next play. Down 2-1, the Golden Eagles prepared for a rally. Brittney Spalding sent a single up the middle, followed by a Burgess single placed runners on first and second. Both advanced on a wild pitch, but found themselves stranded at the end of the inning.
In the fifth Gibbs got a free base, and Sakamoto advanced her on a beautiful bunt, that fell just steps in front of home plate. Eldridge singled again putting runners in scoring position. Chattanooga prevented any advancement on a great catch by the second baseman on a hard driven rope shot by Kendall Hooper.
The Golden Eagles were held to one hit in the final two innings, and could never get the tying run across home plate.
Tech returns to Ohio Valley Conference action Saturday and Sunday. The Golden Eagles will take on the top two teams in the conference. Saturday the Purple and Gold face SIU Edwardsville, followed by a trip to Charleston, Ill. to take on the top seed in the West, Eastern Illinois.