By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
ATHENS, Ga. – The Tennessee Tech softball team dropped both games of day one of the UGA Softball Invitational, falling to Purdue, 4-2, before the Golden Eagles (7-13) were downed 3-1 by host team No. 19 Georgia.
Junior Angi Sakamoto put together a big day offensively for Tech, driving in all three runs in the pair of games, including hitting a triple in the first affair and smacking a home run in the second one. The long ball made it three on the season for Sakamoto, drawing her even with sophomore Madison Taylor and senior Chelsea Burgess for the team lead.
Despite suffering a pair of losses, sophomore Hannah Weaver (2-6) had a strong day inside the circle, tossing a pair of complete games, allowing a total of six earned runs in 12 innings of work.
Tech showed resiliency in the opener to Purdue (7-11-1), responding to an early deficit after the Boilermakers plated two in the bottom of the first behind a two-run double off the bat of senior Lindsey Rains.
TTU came right back in the top of the second, slicing the deficit in half thanks to a two-out RBI triple by Angi Sakamoto, scoring senior Chelsea Burgess, who began the frame with a single through the left side.
The combination of Sakamoto and Burgess would be heard from later, as the two teamed up again for Tech's second run of the game in the top of the seventh. With the Golden Eagles trailing 4-1, TTU put runners on first and second with singles by Burgess and junior Hannah Eldridge, before Sakamoto stepped up and drilled a single into right field to score Burgess, cutting the deficit to 4-2.
Sakamoto and Burgess paved the way offensively for the Golden Eagles, each going 2-for-3 with Sakamoto driving in both runs and Burgess scoring both of them.
In the circle, Hannah Weaver (2-6) pitched well for Tech despite suffering the loss. The sophomore right-hander went the distance, giving up four runs (three earned) on 11 hits, walking two, and striking out two as well.
Purdue's Lilly Fecho (5-6) earned the win behind a complete game effort, surrendering two runs on seven hits, walking none and striking out ten Golden Eagles.
In the day's second game, pitching stole the show with Hannah Weaver and Georgia's Chelsea Wilkinson (9-2) combining to allow four total runs.
The Bulldogs (17-2) scored single runs in the third, fourth, and fifth, using an Alex Hugo RBI double in the third, a Katie Brown run-scoring two-bagger in the fourth, and a Tina Losefa RBI triple in the fifth to account for the scoring.
Angi Sakamoto broke up Wilkinson's shutout bid in the top of the sixth, blasting a solo home run to right field for Tech's lone run.
Wilkinson would go on to pick up the win with seven innings of one run, three hit ball, walking none and striking out ten Golden Eagles.
Weaver backed up her solid game one outing with a stellar game two showing, going the distance and surrendering three earned on eight hits, walking one and striking out two.
Tech will now set its sights on the middle day of the UGA Softball Invitational on Saturday, as the Golden Eagles will rematch Purdue at 9 a.m. CT, before clashing with Kent State at 4:30 p.m. CT.