By Todd Purvis/Sports editor
The Colonel softball team wrapped up their three-game road trip Tuesday afternoon when they took both games of the doubleheader from host Tennessee Tech.”We picked up two big wins today and two big ones on Saturday,” coach Jane Worthington said. “It was a good trip for us.”
Tennessee Tech was the team to beat in the conference according to the preseason polls, but the Colonels outscored the Golden Eagles by a margin of 9-2 in two games. In the opening game of the doubleheader Eastern shut out Tech 5-0, then came back to double-dip the Eagles in the second game 4-2.
“We hit the ball better than they did and our pitchers did a good job,” Worthington said.
The Colonels came out hot in the contests and never slowed down.
In the first game Eastern posted three runs in the top of the first off a pair of singles from Diana Barreras and Kelli Bromley. The two Colonel base runners advanced to second and third when they successfully converted on the double steal. Adriel Foxley then drew a walk to load the bases for Jennifer Norris who came through with a double to left-center, bringing Barreras and Bromley in to score.
Ashley Totten followed up the Norris double with a single, bringing Norris across the plate to give the Colonels the early 3-0 lead.
In the fifth inning Eastern got their bats going again as Barreras started the inning off with another lead-off single. Bromley then got on base off a fielder’s choice, and Barreras scored off the second error of the inning for the Tech defense.
The Colonels scored their final run of the contest when Totten picked up the sacrifice bunt to bring Bromley in for Eastern’s fifth run of the game.
The Colonels were led by Bromley’s offensive showing that was five of eight from the plate and scored five runs during the two games.
“Bromley had a good day, she hit the ball really well,” Worthington said.
Also leading the way for the offensive attack was Foxley, who was four of seven on the day with a homer and three RBI’s.
Freshman pitcher Kelsey Anderson picked up wins in both games. In the first game Anderson pitched the complete game shutout and came in for 5.2 innings of relief to Kindal Kincaid in the second game. Anderson gave up only two runs in two games and struck out 17 hitters on the day.
In the second game of action, the Colonels scored one run in the top of the first, but the Golden Eagles tied it in the bottom of the second.
Eastern got their sticks going in the top of the third when Bromley delivered a one-out double to start the attack. Foxley then delivered with a two-run blast over the center-field wall to give the Colonels the 3-1 lead.
Tech then rallied and put one more run on the board in the third, but Eastern ended the Golden Eagles hopes in the top of the fifth. Foxley delivered with a double that brought Bromley in to score, marking the final run of the game and giving the Colonels the 4-2 victory.
“It was timely hitting on our part; we came to play,” Worthington said.
The two victories boosted Eastern’s overall record to 24-11 and their conference mark is at 7-1 on the season.
Eastern vs. Jacksonville State
The Eastern softball team dropped the final game of their three-game series to Jacksonville State by a score of 10-2.
“Our team was able to see that on Saturday we were fired up to play, but on Sunday we weren’t so fired up,” Worthington said. “Our team thought that it would just come, but it didn’t.”
The Gamecocks jumped on the Colonels early by posting five runs in the bottom of the first. After putting a pair of runners on base, shortstop Rachel Countryman stepped to the plate and hit a three-run homer, giving the Gamecocks a 3-0 lead.
Jacksonville State then plated two more runs off a two-run shot from left fielder Jessica Ford, bringing the Gamecock lead to 5-0.
In the fourth inning, Jacksonville State put five more runs on the board. The Gamecocks scored their first two runs of the inning off a pair of Colonel defensive errors, then right fielder Daniela Pappano hit a three-run homer to give Jacksonville State the 10-0 lead.
“Jacksonville State is a very good hitting team,” Worthington said. “They’re probably the best hitting team we’ve seen all year.”
Eastern finally got on the board in the top of the fifth when Kindal Kincaid and Alysha Jones put together a pair of hits to start the inning for the Colonels. Diana Barreras came to the plate advanced to second off of an error by the Jacksonville State third baseman, which brought two Eastern runners to the plate. The two Eastern runs were too little too late, though, as Jacksonville State downed the Colonels by a final score of 10-2.
“We just needed to come out a little bit more fired up,” Worthington said. “It’s not like we played poorly; they had seven hits and three of them just happened to be homeruns.”
Although Eastern fell in the final game of the series, they downed the Gamecocks both games of the doubleheader by scores of 12-3 and 10-6.
“We didn’t play poorly on Sunday, we just didn’t play with any enthusiasm,” Worthington said. “We are two very different teams. If we play with enthusiasm we are very good, if we just go through the motions we are very average.”
The Colonels were led by Barreras who went six for nine on the day with a homer, four RBI’s and five runs scored. Norris was three for six on the day with a homer and five RBI’s.
Eastern will return to action 3 p.m. Saturday at home against Samford.
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