By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
ATHENS, Ga. – A big day at the plate for freshman Alyssa Richards, coupled with a strong outing on the rubber by sophomore Hannah Weaver (3-6) was the recipe for success for the Tennessee Tech softball team, as the Golden Eagles (8-15) downed Kent State (10-7) 5-2 in the UGA Softball Invitational finale.
Richards kick started the Tech offense in the first inning, smacking a two-run home run to left center three batters into game to give the Golden Eagles an early 2-0 lead. It was the second long ball of the week for the Italy, Texas native, after Richards went yard in Tech's home-opening doubleheader against Holy Cross back on Wednesday.
An inning later Richards and the rest of the TTU offense was at it again, putting up a three spot to push the Golden Eagles advantage to a comfortable 5-0. Three out of the first four Tech batters singled in the second, with sophomores Olivia Bennett and Cortney Fry along with senior Kendall Hooper doing the honors.
With the bases loaded and one down, Richards pushed across TTU's third run of the game thanks to a bases loaded walk for her third RBI of the contest. Junior Angi Sakamoto followed the Richards walk with a two-run single to center, bringing around Fry and Hooper to extend the Tech lead to 5-0.
Richards would go on to add a single in the sixth for her second hit of the game, as she would finish the tilt going 2-for-3 with a walk, three RBI's and one run scored.
The comfortable cushion was in good hands for Tech, as Hannah Weaver took a shutout into the seventh inning, before allowing a two-run home run to sophomore Chloe Kesterson with none away in the frame.
Weaver would bounce back to retire the next three hitters to earn her third victory of the season. The Corona, Calif. native scattered seven hits in the complete game effort, while walking none and striking out two.
Across the way, Kent State freshman Janel Hayes (1-1) was tagged with the first loss of her collegiate career after lasting an inning and two-thirds and giving up five earned on six hits.
The Golden Eagles will return home on Tuesday, Mar. 11, matching up with in-state foe Lipscomb for a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. CT.