By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee State came up with a dramatic win in the bottom of the seventh of game one, but the Tennessee Tech softball team pulled off some heroics of its own in extra innings of the second game to earn a split on Friday.
The host Tigers won game one 3-2, while Tech won 11-5 in eight innings in the nightcap. The Golden Eagles keep even pace as their record moves to 17-19 on the season, 7-7 in Ohio Valley Conference play.
In the opener, Alyssa Arden held Tennessee State to one run through the first five frames, then the Golden Eagles scored single runs in the sixth and seventh innings to take the lead. Raegan Sparks drove in pinch runner Amanda Phy on a single to left for the first run, then Beth McCulley scored on a throwing error at short on a grounder from Gabby LaSala.
Tech then picked up two outs following a leadoff single. Back-to-back walks loaded the bases, then Katie Schneider hit a two-run single to center field for the walk-off win.
Arden took the loss as she went 6 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on six hits as she walked four and struck out five.
Raven Loveless picked up the win in relief, throwing the final inning and two-thirds, allowing an unearned run on one hit and two walks. Starter Jessina Espinoza went 5 1/3 innings, allowing one run on four hits with two walks. Tech's batters did not record a strikeout in the contest, and only struck out once in the second game.
That contest went to extra innings as the Golden Eagles knotted the game at five runs apiece in the top of the seventh. Then, in the eighth, Tech exploded for six runs on four hits and an error. Four of those came from Alexis Trimiar's grand slam, driving in Ashley McGowan, Sydney Love-Baker and LaSala on the play.
McCulley and Hannah Richter scored earlier in the inning on an error at short on a LaSala grounder.
Trimiar and McGowan both ended the nightcap with four RBI each. McGowan drove in Love-Baker and LaSala with a two-run double in the top of the first, then tied the game in the seventh with a two-run home run – her first round-tripper of the season.
McCulley went 3-for-5 in game two, while Love-Baker was 4-for-5. Sparks, Richter, Trimiar and McGowan each had two hits in the contest. Tech ended the game with a season-high 17 hits.
Arden (11-8) picked up the victory in relief, throwing the final two frames as she kept the Tigers scoreless as she yielded one walk and one hit, while striking out three. Starter Haeli Bryson pitched the first three innings, allowing three runs on four hits, while walking one and striking out four. Kayla Hughes pitched the middle three innings, allowing two runs on five hits, striking out two.
Loveless (8-10) took the loss, allowing 11 runs – five earned -- on 17 hits as she walked one.
Tech returns to action on Sunday, weather permitting, as it takes on Belmont in a doubleheader, starting at 1 p.m.