Tech’s six home runs propel Golden Eagles to 14-7 win in series finale with Morehead State
By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech softball team blasted six home runs and scored 12 unanswered en route to a 14-7 victory over Morehead State (15-34-1, 9-16) in the 2014 regular season finale. The lopsided affair completed a three-game sweep for the Golden Eagles (23-33, 15-12) as Tech ends the regular season winning 11 of its final 13 games.
Senior Chelsea Burgess served as one of the hitting stars of the game for TTU, smacking a pair of two-run home runs as part of a 4-for-4 day at the dish with five RBI as well. The two long balls brought the Dunlap, Tenn. native in a three-way tie for the top spot on the team with six round trippers, tying fellow senior Kendall Hooper and junior Angi Sakamoto after Sakamoto touched them all in the bottom of the fourth.
Trailing 4-0 in the bottom of the second, Burgess drilled a two-run shot over the center field wall to cut the Tech deficit in half at 4-2.
Morehead State responded to the early Golden Eagle comeback bid, using a three-run Karly Thompson round tripper in the top of the third to jump out to a 7-2 edge. The long ball was the third of the tilt for the Eagles after Morehead went back-to-back in the top of the second with sophomores Dani Hutchins and Lizzy Margagliotti doing the honors.
Thompson led the Eagles with three RBI in the contest, while freshman Kayla McGuffey, junior Katie Raile, and senior Samantha Howard each had two hits.
Down 7-2, Tech touched up home twice to cut the Morehead lead to 7-4 in the bottom of the third, scoring on an RBI single by Chelsea Burgess that plated pinch runner Christian Gibbs, and a Hannah Eldridge run-scoring knock that brought around Kendall Hooper.
In the bottom of the fourth, TTU flexed its offensive muscles to take their first lead of the day, sending nine Golden Eagles to the plate, scoring five times, and hitting three home runs to jump out to a 9-7 advantage.
Angi Sakamoto started the long ball brigade, blasting a two-run jack over the right field fence to bring Tech within a run at 7-6. With two down and sophomore Madison Taylor aboard, Burgess hit her second round tripper of the afternoon to give the Golden Eagles a one-run lead, before sophomore Cortney Fry went back-to-back with Burgess, blasting a long ball to left to cap off the fourth inning scoring.
Fry ended the afternoon going 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI.
An inning later it was time for Madison Taylor to get into the act as the 5-foot-2 outfielder smoked Tech's fifth home run of the game, an opposite field shot into left center to give TTU a 10-7 lead.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Golden Eagles got all the insurance they needed thanks to a Hannah Eldridge grand slam that scored Kendall Hooper, Chelsea Burgess, and Cortney Fry. It was the second home run of the season for Eldridge as the Fayetteville, Tenn. native capped off her day going a perfect 3-for-3 with five RBI.
Inside the circle, sophomore Hannah Weaver (8-18) won her second consecutive start, despite some early struggles. The 5-foot-5 righty out of Corona, Calif. lasted an inning and a third before being lifted in favor of junior Taylor Ketchum after Weaver allowed three earned.
Weaver would come back into the game in the third inning, pitching lights out for the remainder of the contest, retiring 14 of the final 16 Eagles to help lead Tech to the series sweep.
Morehead used a combination of four pitchers in the tilt, with freshman Megan Tymorek suffering the loss in relief after pitching 1 2/3 innings, giving up four runs (one earned) on three hits.
The Golden Eagles enter the OVC Tournament hosted by Jacksonville State, May 7-10, as the No. 7 seed, locking up with No. 2 SIUE at 12:30 p.m. CT on Wednesday. With a win Tech would play the winner of No. 3 Eastern Illinois and No. 6 UT Martin on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. CT, while a loss would send the Golden Eagles to a 10 a.m. start against the EIU-UTM loser on Thursday in the double-elimination format.