Due to cold temperatures, changes in the schedule have been made. Tennessee Tech will no longer play on Friday. On Saturday, Tech will play UNC Wilmington at 8 a.m. and North Carolina A&T at 10 a.m. On Sunday, the Golden Eagles will play Charleston Southern in a doubleheader with the first game scheduled for 12 p.m and the second one at 2 p.m.
By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech softball team gets away from the snow and icy conditions that have blanketed the state over the last week, and head southeast for the club's third consecutive tournament to begin the 2015 campaign with a spot in the Charleston Southern Tournament.
The Golden Eagles (3-6) will play four games over the weekend, starting with a Friday matchup against UNC Wilmington at 10 a.m. CST. On Saturday, it's a pair on the slate with contests between UNC Wilmington again at 8 a.m. and North Carolina A&T at 10 a.m., before closing out the trip with the tourney host Charleston Southern on Sunday at 12 p.m.
Tech heads to CSU after finishing strong in the squad's last tournament hosted by Georgia Southern, taking two of the final three with a pair of victories against the host Eagles over the weekend. Led by the power outage from junior Olivia Bennett, TTU captured an extra inning victory in the first of two clashes with Georgia Southern on Friday. The Mentone, Calif. native clubbed two home runs in the thrilling victory, the second of which broke an eighth inning 2-2 deadlock, pushing the Golden Eagles to a 4-2 win on the two-run shot after GSU forced extras with a run in the bottom of the seventh.
The two Bennett long balls helped the 5-foot-4 outfielder continue a torrid beginning with the bat as she now has four home runs over the first two weekends of the season, tying her with Southeast Missouri senior Kayla Fortner for the most in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Sophomore Alyssa Richards and senior Angi Sakamoto have mirrored similar starts at the dish in the early stages of the season as well, with Richards leading the Golden Eagles with a .292 batting average to go along with a home run and five RBI, while Sakamoto is hitting .290 with a club-leading nine runs scored and two stolen bases.
In fact, Sakamoto paced TTU offensively in its other win at the Georgia Southern Invitational as the Golden Eagles seized a 5-4 victory in Sunday's finale. Sakamoto ended the day going 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI, one of which came on a solo home run to lead off the ball game. Junior Hannah Weaver held up her end of the bargain from inside the circle, blanking the Eagles over the final three innings en route to picking up her second win of the season to move to 2-2.
After surrendering four runs in the first four innings, the Corona, Calif. native got into a groove that saw her retire the final six batters as part of her three-straight scoreless frames to end the game. Weaver leads the Golden Eagles in wins, while sophomore Danielle Liberatore sports a club-best 2.45 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 34 innings of work from the slab.
Scouting Tech's Weekend Competition:
North Carolina A&T (3-1): Saturday will mark just the second meeting in the all-time series between Tech and the Aggies, with the Golden Eagles searching to remain perfect after a 1996 victory in the series opener. A&T flexed its offensive muscles in its own tournament to begin the season last weekend, throwing up 35 runs in the three wins. The Aggies have three players with at least 10 at-bats to be hitting at least. 500, led by sophomore Dasia Moore's .538 clip, while junior Alejandra Barcenas has smacked three home runs and has driven in 10 in the first four games of the season.
UNC Wilmington (2-1): Just like North Carolina A&T, the Seahawks also opened the season by hosting their own tournament last weekend, capturing two wins with a 5-4 extra-inning victory over Georgetown on Friday, and a 4-2 nod over UMBC on Saturday. The 1-2 punch of senior Casey Rowland and freshman Sarah Davis have looked sharp from inside the circle, with the tandem combining to give up only three earned runs in over 15 innings of work, whiffing a combined 19 as well. The two games will mark the first ever meeting between the two schools.
Charleston Southern (5-3): After going a perfect 2-0 against the host in last weekend's tournament, the Golden Eagles will attempt to duplicate that kind of success against Charleston Southern on Sunday. Tech has fared well in the all-time series with Buccaneers, holding a 6-2 edge with the last win coming in 2008. CSU opened the season with a bang after taking five of the first six to begin the year, but are coming into the weekend on a string of back-to-back losses, being outscored 13-2 in the process with losses to Delaware and Toledo. The Buccaneers have two players hitting above .500 over the first eight games as sophomore Cheyenne Gandara comes into the tourney with a .591 average (13-22), and fellow sophomore Amanda Matsumoto is at an even .500 (13-26). Gandara has also clubbed three round trippers, tying herself with senior Marci Christian for the team lead.
Live Stats are available for each game. To access them as well as more information on the tournament… click here to go to the tournament central page.