COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- The 2013 Ohio Valley Conference regular season is drawing to a close and the Golden Eagle softball team will say farewell to four seniors at the Tennessee Tech Softball Complex. Tech will host Jacksonville State in a crucial three-game weekend series.
On Saturday, the Golden Eagles will host a doubleheader, beginning at 1 p.m. CDT. Sunday, they will meet for the finale, also at 1 p.m. Both teams currently hold an 11-11 record, and will be fighting for a spot in the OVC Tournament. Tech has nearly sealed a spot in the field, but must win at least one of the three games to clinch.
The Golden Eagles have made 18 appearances in the 19-year OVC Tournament history. The Class of 2013 is vying for its third trip, and another appearance in the championship game, falling to UT Martin last season after battling all the way to the "if necessary" championship game by beating every higher seeded team in the field.
Tech will recognize its four seniors in a special presentation Saturday between games. The Class of 2013 is made up of four student-athletes who have played vital roles in the program during their careers. Melody Christian, Claudia Harke, Brittney Spalding and Chanelle Spalding are four-year starters for the Golden Eagles and have collected 103 victories across the past four seasons, and a 7-4-tournament record.
Christian joined the Golden Eagles and made an immediate an impact. A native of Kingston Springs, Tenn., she has led the team in hits, runs and stolen bases the last three years. She has left her mark on the Tech records book with the ninth best career batting average (.311), ninth-most career runs scored (120) and the second most stolen bases by a Golden Eagle with 78. As a freshman, Christian was named to the OVC all-Newcomer team and was recognized as the team's Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year as a sophomore. She has been on the TTU Athletics Director's Honor Roll five times, and was on the OVC Commissioner's Honor Roll in 2010-11.
Harke has been a consistent performer since first taking the circle. A native of Kimberly, Wis., the left-hander has made 77 appearances in her career, and has pitched over 200 innings for the Golden Eagles. Harke has thrown two complete game shutouts this season. Harke has been on the TTU Athletics Director's Honor Roll every semester at Tech and has been on the OVC Commissioner's Honor Roll all three years. Harke is the vice president of Tech's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and was awarded the prestigious OVC Vernon Holland Scholarship Award.
Brittney Spalding has anchored third base for the past four seasons. She has started just over 150 games and collected roughly 100 hits and 70 RBI. As a sophomore, Spalding led the team in doubles, and topped Techin RBI as a junior. Spalding has been on the TTU Athletic Director's Honor Roll for six semesters and has been on the OVC Commissioner's Honor Roll all three years.
Chanelle Spalding has been the other anchor to the Tech corners. A native of Laguna Niguel, Calif., and twin sister of Brittney, Chenelle was a member of the 2010 OVC all-Newcomer team. In 2012, she was recognized as the team's Offensive Player of the Year. Chanelle Spalding has started in 175 games, collecting over 150 hits, close to 90 runs and 50 RBI. Sheg has been on the TTU Athletic Director's Honor Roll every semester and has been on the OVC Commissioner's Honor Roll all three years.
Admission is free.
Jacksonville State: 19-22, JSU holds the slight edge over Tech. Last season the Gamecocks won both regular season meetings, but Tech defeated Jacksonville State 2-1 in the first game of the OVC Tournament.
- Tech is 22-26 overall this season and 10-10 in the OVC.
- Tech has won both OVC Series it's played in, and split three doubleheaders. The Golden Eagles were swept by Murray State, SIUE and EIU in each doubleheader. Tech's win over TSU was the only doubleheader sweep this season.
- As a team, Tech is hitting .260, posting 189 runs scored, 157 RBI and a .326 on-base percentage through 48 games. The Golden Eagles average 3.49 earned runs per game.
- The Golden Eagle pitching staff combines for a 2.72 conference ERA allowing 56 earned runs in 144.0 innings pitched in the OVC.
- Five Golden Eagles have combined for 20 home runs this season. [Hooper (4), B. Spalding (4), Bennett (3), Sakamoto, (3), Eldridge (2), C. Spalding (2), Gibbs, Taylor].
- Hannah Eldridge and Kendall Hooper have each had six multiple-RBI games.
- 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 and currently sits on a 15 game streak.
- Four players have scored 20+ runs for the Golden Eagles, including Christian, with a team-high 21 runs and is the team's stolen bases leader.
- Christian is third in the OVC with 23 stolen bases on 26 attempts.
- Five Golden Eagles have recorded triples, including newcomer Chelsea Burgess. Christian holds a team high two triples.
- 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.
- The Golden Eagles finished the Eagle Round Robin hosted by Georgia Southern in February 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.