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March 28, 2014

Softball travels to Belmont for OVC three-game set

By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information Coordinator

*DUE TO WEATHER, SATURDAY IS NOW CHANGED FROM A DOUBLEHEADER TO A SINGLE GAME, BEGINNING AT 3 P.M. CT. AND SUNDAY IS CHANGED TO A DOUBLEHEADER WITH START TIMES OF 12 P.M. AND 2 P.M. CT

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech softball team heads down I-40 this weekend, matching up with Belmont for a three-game series in Tech's second conference road set of the year. The Golden Eagles (9-24, 1-6) will clash with the Bruins (7-19, 1-5) in a single game on Saturday, beginning at 3 p.m. CT, before wrapping up the series with a doubleheader on Sunday, starting at noon.

TTU enters the trio of games fresh off its first conference win of the season this past Sunday, using an offensive barrage to the tune of 10 runs on 10 hits to dispose of Eastern Illinois, 10-2 in six innings. After dropping the first game of the twin bill with the Panthers, 5-4, the Golden Eagles came out swinging with a run in the first and two more in the second to take an early 3-0 edge.

Two innings later senior Kendall Hooper essentially put the game on ice with a two-out, three-run home run in the bottom of the fourth to give Tech a 6-0 lead. The round tripper was the Hermitage, Tenn. native's second of the 2014 campaign, as she would end the contest with two hits, one of three Golden Eagles to boast a multi-hit performance along with junior Angi Sakamoto and senior Chelsea Burgess.

Freshman Danielle Liberatore held up her end of the bargain from inside the circle, tossing a complete game, four-hitter, allowing just two runs for the southpaw's team-leading fourth win of the year.

Liberatore leads all Golden Eagle hurlers with 51 strikeouts on the season, while sophomore Hannah Weaver is tops on Tech with a 3.70 ERA. The 5-5 righty out of Corona, Calif. is coming off a brilliant outing on Saturday in a matchup with SIU Edwardsville. Despite suffering a tough luck 1-0 loss to the Cougars, Weaver did not allow an earned run, pitching a complete game, three-hitter.

Offensively, sophomore Madison Taylor paces TTU in most offensive categories, leading the Golden Eagles with a .295 batting average, 18 runs scored, a .537 slugging percentage, and a .380 on-base percentage. The 5-2 outfielder from Mt. Juliet, Tenn. has also slugged three home runs on the year, one back of both Angi Sakamoto and Chelsea Burgess for the team high of four. Sakamoto is also the Golden Eagle leader with 16 RBI's.

Tech's 18 home runs as a team put them in a tie with UT Martin for fourth place in the OVC.

Belmont comes into the series having dropped six straight games, including the last four conference affairs after being swept in consecutive doubleheaders by Austin Peay and Murray State this past weekend.

Junior Kat Hollingsworth leads the Bruins with a .364 batting average, a mark that puts the outfielder from Carrollton, Texas in fifth place in the OVC. Sophomore Jessica Wilson displays the club's best power numbers, leading the club with four home runs and 18 RBI's, while batting a solid .293.

On the rubber, sophomore Taylor Moon has appeared in a team-leading 17 games in 2014, sitting atop the Bruins in wins with three and strikeouts with 29, while posting a Belmont low 3.67 ERA. Moon has also split time at first this season, hitting .296 with one home run and four RBI's in 27 at-bats.

The Golden Eagles have dominated the all-time series with the Bruins, taking 26 of the previous 30 meetings, including taking two-of-three last year in Cookeville. Junior Hannah Eldridge played a key factor in the series victory, driving in a combined four runs in Tech's pair of wins.

All three games will be broadcasted on the OVC Digital Network. CLICK HERE TO WATCH.