By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Day two of the Frost Classic, hosted by UT Chattanooga, ended in a split for the Tennessee Tech softball team as the Golden Eagles earned a thrilling victory over Campbell, 6-5 in nine innings, before dropping the second game to Northwestern State, 9-0.
The opener saw the Golden Eagles (4-8) stretch their win streak to four straight behind their second consecutive extra inning victory.
What began as a pitcher's duel for the first six innings between Tech's Danielle Liberatore and Campbell's Katie Baker turned into an offensive showcase over the final three frames as each team plated at least a run in five of the final six half innings.
Tech began the scoring barrage with a run in the top of the seventh to send the game into extras. Down to their final two outs and junior Angi Sakamoto on second, sophomore Madison Taylor reached on an error that allowed Sakamoto to score with the game tying run.
After Liberatore set the Camels (7-5) down in order in the bottom half of the seventh, TTU struck for three runs in the eighth. With International tie-breaker rules stating that each extra inning will begin with a runner at second, freshman Gabby Perez began the frame in scoring position.
Senior Kayla Floyd gave steam to the rally by reaching on a fielder's choice, advancing Perez to third, before fellow senior Kendall Hooper put Tech ahead with a two-run double into left center. Three batters later, the Golden Eagles added a third run on a Campbell error as Hooper touched up home.
The Camels responded to the Tech outburst with one of their own, putting up a three spot to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth. After junior Brittany Bruce scored a run on an Ericka Nesbitt fielder's choice, Campbell was down to its last out with Nesbitt on first and freshman Milly Martinet at the plate.
The Loma Linda, Calif. native proceeded to smack a two-run game tying home run to push the contest into the ninth.
Senior Chelsea Burgess began the inning on second and promptly stole third base to put the potential go-ahead run just 60 feet away. Madison Taylor, the hero of Friday's two victories with game winning hits in both contests, added to her 2014 Frost Classic heroics with a go-ahead RBI triple to left center. Two batters later pinch hitter Alyssa Richards brought around Taylor with an infield knock.
The Camels made things interesting in the bottom of the ninth after scoring a one-out run on a Jordan Clarke single, but Liberatore escaped further damage by retiring the next two hitters to cap off the thrilling win.
Liberatore went all nine innings to earn her second win of the season, giving up five runs (three earned) on eight hits, while walking three and striking out an impressive 13, the fourth most in Tech history.
Freshman Katie Baker suffered her first loss of the year, working seven innings, allowing four runs (one earned) on just two hits with two walks and 11 strikeouts.
The Golden Eagles couldn't keep the momentum going in the second game as Tech went down 9-0 to Northwestern State (7-6). TTU fell into an early hole after the Demons plated two in the first and six more in the second.
Senior Brianna Rodriguez kicked off the scoring with an RBI double into right center, which was followed by a Natalie Landry run scoring single up the middle two batters later.
Already leading 2-0 in the top of the second, senior Tara McKenney padded the lead with an RBI single to left center, before Rodriguez knocked in another run with an infield single. After a hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded to junior Cassandra Barefield made it 5-0, freshman Micayla Sorosiak delivered a three-run double to push the Demons to an 8-0 lead.
The Golden Eagles mustered only four hits, as the combination of freshman Skylar Cagle and senior Kaylee Guidry kept Tech off the board. Cagle (3-3) earned her third win of the season, tossing three shutout innings, allowing all four TTU hits with one walk and three strikeouts mixed in.
Junior Erica Tuck was saddled with the loss as the 5-9 righty from Maryville, Tenn. was unable to get out of the first inning, surrendering two runs on four hits.
Tech did enjoy a solid relief outing by sophomore Hannah Weaver, with the Corona, Calif. native putting together four innings of one-run ball.
The Golden Eagles will close out their stay in Chattanooga on Sunday, squaring off with Radford at 12:30 p.m. CT.