By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech found a way to win one in a dramatic comeback fashion in the first day of the Chattanooga Challenge as the Golden Eagles trailed early to Kennesaw State, tied the game to force extra innings, then won in the eighth inning for a 6-5 victory.
However, in the day's second game, host Chattanooga opened the offensive flood gates to take a run-ruled 10-2 victory in five innings.
The Golden Eagles (3-3) continue the tournament on Saturday, taking on Toledo at 12:30 p.m. Central, followed by a 3 p.m. matchup against Indiana State.
In the day's opener, Kennesaw State (1-5) tagged Haeli Bryson for four runs in the first two frames and held that advantage through the midway point of the fourth inning. Bryson allowed five hits as she struck out one.
Hallie Davis got Tech going in the home half, hitting a leadoff home run on a 2-2 count. Sydney Love-Baker took a walk on four straight pitches, then advanced as Ashley McGowan put down a sacrifice bunt down the third base side. Chandler Caldwell gave Tech two in scoring position with a single to left and a stolen base.
Then Beth McCulley hit a ball to center field and it was misplayed, resulting in a two-run error as Love-Baker and Caldwell scored, cutting the deficit to 4-3.
KSU added its fifth run in the top of the fifth, then Love-Baker hit Tech's second homer of the game with a solo shot to left field, making it a 5-4 contest.
Tech tied the game in the bottom of the sixth as Gabby LaSala drove in Caldwell with a sacrifice fly to center field.
The Golden Eagles left a runner on in the bottom of the seventh, but it was nothing doing as the two teams went to extras with the international tiebreaker rule in effect. Following the placed runner, KSU ended up leaving the bases loaded.
With Hannah Richter placed at second for the tiebreaker rule, Caldwell reached on a passed ball on a swinging strike three, then Raleigh Lewis put a single down just in front of the catcher, beating out the play and loading the bases. LaSala repeated her effort from the sixth, driving in Richter with a sacrifice fly – this time to left – to end the contest.
Alyssa Arden picked up her first win of the season, going the final six frames in relief as she allowed one run on three hits, walking fix and striking out four.
In the second contest, Chattanooga (6-0) roughed up starter Kayla Hughes, who allowed nine earned runs on 10 hits as Tech was charged with four errors in the game. Hughes went 4 1/3 innings, allowing four walks and no strikeouts.
Tech took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first as Davis drove in LaSala on a double. Chattanooga tied the game in the bottom half of the inning, then the Golden Eagles retook the lead with a McGowan RBI double to right center to drive in Alexis Trimiar and make it a 2-1 contest.
But that was it for the Golden Eagles as they picked up just one more hit in the contest. Chattanooga struck for seven runs on five hits and an error in the bottom of the third, then added solo runs in the fourth and fifth, forcing the run rule.