By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
JACKSONVILLE, Ala. -- In a pitcher's duel for the ages, the No. 7 Tennessee Tech softball team was edged 1-0 by No. 2 SIU Edwardsville (28-21) in each club's 2014 OVC Tournament opener.
Tech's (22-34) Danielle Liberatore (13-11) and SIUE's Haley Chambers (16-13) combined to give up just four hits in the contest, tossing up zero after zero in the quick moving affair that lasted only an hour and 16 minutes. Liberatore, who was near perfect after retiring 16 consecutive Cougars following a one-out first inning single by freshman Allison Smiley, blinked first in the bottom of the sixth.
With two out and the bases empty, the 5-foot-10 southpaw served up a solo home run to senior Chelsea Yankolovich, the game's only run.
The Golden Eagles had a pair of threats against SIUE sophomore Haley Chambers, starting with putting two on with one down in the fourth with the game squared away at 0-0. A single by sophomore Madison Taylor and a walk to freshman Alyssa Richards gave TTU a threat, but Chambers bounced back with a strikeout on senior Kendall Hooper, before inducing fellow senior Chelsea Burgess on a pop up.
In the top of the fifth, Tech once again put a runner in scoring positing thanks to a booming Hannah Eldridge one-out double into left center, but the Golden Eagles were kept off the board with a strikeout on sophomore Samantha Cook and a line out to third from senior Kayla Floyd.
Chambers tossed back-to-back 1-2-3 innings in the sixth and seventh, preserving the 1-0 win.
Now facing elimination, the Golden Eagles will clash with No. 6 UT Martin at 10 a.m. CT, while Edwardsville will hook up with No. 3 Eastern Illinois at 12:30 p.m. The Skyhawks were downed 6-4 in Wednesday's opening tilt, nearly coming back from a 6-2 seventh inning deficit.
Live audio via the Golden Eagle Sports Network on FM 106.1 The Eagle will be available as well as a free video stream through the OVC Digital Network.