By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – After the weather washed out last week's action, the Tennessee Tech softball team will try to get back into action this weekend as they head down to Montgomery, Ala., for the Alabama State Invitational.
Tech will open up play on Friday with games against Southeastern Louisiana and Western Illinois, then take on the Fighting Leathernecks once more on Saturday before facing host Alabama State. Tech wraps up the tournament on Sunday with Purdue Fort Wayne.
SLU (9-8) is led at the plate by Ella Manzer, who has a .455 average, collecting 20 hits with two home runs and has driven in 11 runs. Rebecca Skains (.393) has a team-high 24 hits and 13 RBI and has 11 runs on the season.
In the circle, Alley McDonald (1-2, 2.40 ERA) has the most innings worked with 35 frames tenure, while Tanner Wright (3-3, 2.28) and Sophie Hannabas (2-2, 3.21 ERA) has also seen the bulk of time.
The Lions have won three of their last five, including a mid-week 7-5 victory against Kent State. They went 2-2 last week at Mississippi State's The Snowman tournament, taking two wins against Alcorn State, while falling to the host Bulldogs in nine innings, as well as a defeat at the hands of Georgia Tech.
SLU also fell to SIUE on Feb. 17 in a 2-1 defeat on the Lions' home field.
Western Illinois has a 4-4 record on the season, going 1-2 at Western Kentucky on Feb. 16 and 17.
Sydney Hollings has the top batting average with a .348 effort, driving in three and scoring eight runs. Peyton Abbott (.208) has a team-high nine RBI. Abbott also has some solid pitching stats as well, posting a 1.05 ERA in 6 2/3 innings.
Emily Ira has worked the most, pitching 20 innings with a 2-1 record and a 3.50 ERA. She has a 0.9 WHIP with two walks and 16 strikeouts.
Alabama State comes into the weekend with an 8-5 record, going 3-1 last weekend in the second of three tournaments hosted by the Hornets. ASU fell to Presbyterian, then defeated Grambling State, Missouri-Kansas City and Howard. The Hornets also dropped a 10-1 decision to UT Martin on Feb. 17.
Hailey Walker is averaging .355, leading all batters with more than 15 at-bats. Charlene Castro has driven in a team-high 10 RBI. Castro also has a 1-1 record with a 1.11 ERA in 19 innings of work.
Justine Jean (4-2, 3.18) has walked 16 and struck out 30 in 44 innings of work, while Vanessa Bradford (3-2, 3.65) has walked 18 and struck out 14.
Purdue Fort Wayne (4-6) makes a return trip to Montgomery after going 3-2 at the Black and Gold Tournament two weeks ago. The two losses came to Ohio Valley Conference foes UT Martin (L, 9-1) and Jacksonville State (L, 7-2).
Morganne Denny leads the Mastadons with a .419 average and nine RBI, hitting the team's lone home run. Abby Baez (.370) and Lauren Watson (.313) both have 10 hits on the year.
Lauren McConnell (3-1) leads the team with a 2.82 ERA, walking 11 and striking out 15 in 27 1/3 innings of work, while Shaina Eyre (0-3) has 10 walks and 14 strikeouts.
Tech (3-5) has not played a game since Feb. 16 at the Chattanooga Challenge, going 1-3 in that event. Beth McCulley leads the Golden Eagle batters with double-digit at-bats with a .370 average, while Gabby LaSala (.259) has a team-high seven RBI, with Hallie Davis (.278) and Alexis Trimiar (.185) each driving in six.
Alyssa Arden (1-2) has a 4.48 ERA with 15 walks and 12 strikeouts, Haeli Bryson (1-2) has a 6.22 ERA with six walks and seven strikeouts, and Kayla Hughes (1-1) has a 6.79 ERA with 11 walks and nine strikeouts.