CHARLESTON, Ill. -- The Tennessee Tech softball team
dropped a 4-3 decision to SIU Edwardsvillle Wednesday in the
opening round of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament.
Christian extended her hitting streak to sixteen games as
one of five Golden Eagles to connect for a hit. Christian's hitting
streak is the longest streak in the conference this season. The
turning points of the game came from Chanelle
Spalding and Angi
Sakamoto. Down 3-1, Sakamoto launched a home run in the top of
the fifth to spark a two-run comeback. Tech tied the contest, but
never overcame the Cougars.
Harke (6-11) took the loss, pitching a complete game. The lefty
tossed three strikeouts, but gave up one Cougar home run.
The Ohio Valley Conference Newcomer of the Year Haley Chambers
retired the Golden Eagles in order to open the contest. Christian
called out as the slap hitter, dragged for a bunt and the ball hit
her in fair territory for the first out.
Tech got the first out in the bottom of the first in style.
SIUE's Chelsea Yankolovich drilled a line drive toward Harke,
forcing the ball to bounce off her glove, right into the hands
Eldridge. A pop-up caught by Chanelle Spalding, brought OVC
Player of the Year Alex McDavid to the plate. The sophomore
grounded out to third, for a corners play by the Spalding
In the second, Brittney
Spalding hit a long drive, it looked like it would go out,
but the wind stole the home run. Chambers remained perfect, through
The Cougars were the first to reach base in the bottom of the
second, as a tough ball got past Brittney Spalding for an error.
Once on base, SIUE's Brittany Toney, stole second, remaining
perfect on the season around the bases.
Harke followed with a rising pitch for her first called
strikeout of the contest. Samantha Stanicek hit a single up
the middle, but Tech's defense got to the ball quickly to hold
SIUE's scoring run at third. Chambers laid down a bunt, hoping to
for the first run, but dropped her bat right into the ball for the
second out. Harke tossed another called strikeout, to strand
two Cougars, ending the second scoreless.
Eldridge finally connected for a leadoff double in the third.
The sophomore hit a high fly toward the left fence. Eldridge
advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Cortney Fry,
and scored on a hit by Christian. With the juices
Floyd found a weak spot between short and third to put
runners on first and second. Chanelle Spalding tried to follow suit
but SIUE's Yankolovich jumped behind second base for a great snag
to end the inning.
To open the bottom of the third, Chanelle Spalding made a great
play of her own, fielding a hard hit grounder, seven feet from the
bag and won the foot race for the first out of the inning.
Yankolovich connected for another hard hit to the warning track.
Tooley sent a line drive up the left line, to put two runners on
and one out. With the threat of an answer, Tech's corner anchors
again made the play for two outs. Toney had other plans, hitting a
two RBI single allowing SIUE to answer immediately. Eldridge made
the final out, ending the inning 2-1.
Hooper kept the Tech bats going with a single up the
middle, and advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Bennett. The tying run
was in position, but Tech left her stranded.
SIUE's Stanicek reached on a base-hit but was replaced by Jill
Rackers to run the bases. Chambers bunted on the next play, and in
a bind for bad timing. The pitcher raced toward first, and collided
with Fry trying to make the out. Chambers remained on the ground
and was replaced by Hansen to run. Runners on the corners, Riggs
collected an RBI but Tech got the out at first. Chanelle
Spalding ended the frame, but SIUE remained ahead 3-1.
Despite the collision, Chambers returned to the circle and
retired Fry in three pitches but Sakamoto stepped to the
plate and blasted a home run off one of the toughest pitchers in
the league. Back within striking distance, Tech returned to the top
of the order. A clearly shaken Chambers left the circle and was
replaced by Erin Greenwalt.
SIUE stumbled against the next two Golden Eagles placing
Christian and Floyd, Tech's two best base runners, on first and
second with one out. Chanelle Spalding drills a double to the
Golden Eagles sweet spot in left field allowing Christian to score.
Tech had two runners in the go ahead, but Jordan LaFave chased down
a breaking ball by Brittney Spalding for the third out in
With all the moment, a calm Harke remained in the circle and
moved the game to the sixth inning only giving up one hit to
In the bottom of the sixth, the leadoff batter Stanicek
connected for a solo home run to give SIUE the 4-3 advantage. The
Golden Eagles followed with a double play by Fry and Brittney
Spalding. Fry tagged the runner and threw to first for the 4-3
The damage had been done, Greenwalt finished the Golden Eagles
and got the save, retiring the top of the line-up.
The Golden Eagles remain alive, and will take on Eastern
Kentucky in the losers bracket Thrusday at 10 a.m. CDT.