By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech softball team was upended in both games of a doubleheader in its first conference home tilts of the year Saturday afternoon, as SIU Edwardsville (10-15, 4-0) got the better of the Golden Eagles (8-23, 0-5) with wins of 8-2 and 1-0.
Cougar starting pitcher Haley Chambers (5-10) tossed a no-hitter in the second affair, striking out ten Golden Eagles to capture the epic pitcher's duel with Tech's Hannah Weaver (3-11). The Golden Eagle sophomore starter just about matched Chambers pitch for pitch, surrendering just one unearned run on three hits in a complete game effort.
Weaver didn't allow a hit until the fourth inning when an infield knock by sophomore Jordan LaFave put runners on first and second with nobody out. Freshman Allison Smiley advanced the runners to second and third on a sacrifice bunt, but behind a brilliant defensive play by Tech's Gabby Perez, the Cougar scoring chance was stalled.
Perez, the freshman from Covington, La. scooped up a grounder and threw on the run to cut off Chelsea Yankolovich at the plate, keeping the game tied at 0-0.
One batter later SIUE did get on the scoreboard as Haley Chambers helped out her own cause with an RBI bunt single to push across LaFave with the only run of the game.
Despite not recording a hit in the contest, the Golden Eagles threatened on a few occasions, most notably in the bottom of the first inning. With one out and runners on first and second, senior Chelsea Burgess hit into some bad luck, smashing a hard liner to second that was turned into a double play to end the Tech scoring threat.
TTU's final chance came in the seventh after a leadoff walk to Burgess and a sacrifice bunt by senior Kendall Hooper put the tying run in scoring position. Chambers extinguished the potential rally with consecutive strikeouts to end the game.
A tough start plagued Tech's chances in the opener, as the Cougars plated two in the first, three in the second, and two more in the third to jump out to a 7-1 advantage.
SIUE scored two in the first, despite earning just one hit, a Haley Chambers RBI single. An RBI knock by Chelsea Yankolovich and a key Golden Eagle error led to the trio of runs scored in the second, and an RBI double by junior Brittany Toney followed by an RBI single by senior Jill Rackers two batters later accounted for the scoring in the third.
TTU plated its second inning run on a Madison Taylor two-out RBI single, scoring Gabby Perez who reached on a one-out infield single. Taylor would go on to score Tech's second run in the seventh, coming across on a Kendall Hooper two-out RBI single. Taylor finished the game going 2-for-4, the only Golden Eagle to put together a multi-hit showing.
Edwardsville's Erin Greenwalt (5-5) earned the win with five solid innings of work, allowing one earned run on two hits, walking three and striking out five. Junior starting pitcher Taylor Ketchum suffered the loss after departing with two outs in the second inning, responsible for giving up four runs (three earned) on two hits.
Freshman Danielle Liberatore came on in relief to pitch the remainder of the game, looking impressive throughout her stint, including going through a stretch of 12 straight retired.
Tech concludes its stretch of four-straight at home on Sunday, hosting Eastern Illinois in a doubleheader beginning at 12 p.m. CT.