By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Gabby LaSala continued her fantastic weekend, powering the Tennessee Tech softball team to five runs as the Golden Eagles run-ruled SIUE 12-2 in five innings on Sunday.
The home-standing Cougars had to overcome a six-spot on the board from Tech in the nightcap, scoring four runs in the home half of the fifth to avoid the sweep, handing the Golden Eagles an 8-6 defeat in the second game.
The split helps Tech (16-27, 7-9 Ohio Valley Conference) keep pace in the conference standings with just six games remaining in league play. The top eight teams advance to the OVC Tournament in Oxford, Ala., and the Golden Eagles currently hold on to seventh place, three games ahead of Morehead State in ninth. Tech hosts the Eagles next Sunday. Eastern Kentucky, who currently holds an 11-1 mark in league play, is Tech's guest on Saturday.
But the junior from Mason, Ohio, had one heck of a weekend, driving in nine runs on seven hits as she batted .438.
In the opener, Tech struck for 12 runs on 16 hits as LaSala and Jessie Lowery each collected three safeties. Bayli Cruse, Taylor Thomas and Beth McCulley each had two hits, while Thomas drove in three.
Thomas and Callen Griffin each homered for the Golden Eagles in the opener.
Taylor Waldrop picked up 10th win of the season, holding SIUE to two runs on six hits as she walked one and struck out three.
Four more runs came across in the second as Griffin led off with a solo homer to left. LaSala later hit a two-run single through the right side of the infield, driving in Lowery and McCulley, then Thomas picked up an RBI with a single to right to plate LaSala.
Tech had a single run in the third as Griffin scored on Lowery's double to left, but it was a five-run inning in the fourth that sealed the deal. With one down, Cruse doubled to right, then Thomas drilled a homer to left center. Hallie Davis scored on a wild pitch, then Lowery and McCulley scored on a LaSala double to right.
In game two, SIUE struck for two runs in the first and second innings each to take a 4-0 lead, but the Golden Eagles took the lead in the fifth, posting six runs in the frame.
After Griffin reached on an error in the circle, McCulley and Lowery singled to load the bases, then Love-Baker drew a full-count walk to drive in a run. Sparks singled through the left side, then advanced on a fielding error in left to drive in Lowery and McCulley. Cruse followed up as she launched a three-run home run to center field.
But the Cougars retaliated, tagging Waldrop in relief for two runs on four hits to result in the loss. Starter Kayla Hughes allowed six runs – four earned – on five hits as she walked and struck out four.
Tech returns to action on Saturday as it hosts Eastern Kentucky in a doubleheader, starting at 12 p.m. Admission to all Tech home softball games is free to the public.