By Todd Purvis/Sports editor
After traveling to Austin Peay and taking the series from the Governors over the weekend, the Colonel softball team returned home and fell to Tennessee Tech Tuesday evening. Tech was led by a homerun in the top of the seventh that gave the Golden Eagles the 2-1 edge in the contest.”We played a pretty solid game all the way around; their pitching was decent, ours was decent, we hit the ball, it was just right at people,” coach Jane Worthington said. “We could have had a better pitch selection because we helped their pitcher out a little bit by swinging at pitches out of the zone.”
The Eastern loss tightened the race for first in the conference with the front-running Colonels now only two games up on Tennessee Tech.
“I like our chances in the conference because it’s in our hands; we don’t have to wait on other teams to win or lose,” Worthington said. “The key for us is to play to win instead of playing to not lose.”
Tennessee Tech scored the game’s first run in the top of the first. Lori Bayless opened the game with a double, and Marianne Novac followed her with a single, putting runners on second and third.
Kacy Benett hit a short fly ball to center field and Bayless tagged up from third. As Bayless tagged up, Eastern center fielder Kelli Bromley threw to the plate, but catcher Amber Berthoud could not hold on to the ball as Bayless crossed the plate, giving Tech the early 1-0 lead.
The Colonels answered in the bottom of the second when Berthoud picked up a one-out walk. Alysha Jones then came through with a two-out double to left-center, bringing Berthoud in to score. The Eastern run knotted the score at 1-1.
After the second inning, Eastern was held hitless and Tech scattered only two hits until the top of the seventh inning.
The Golden Eagles regained the lead in the top of the seventh when Krystina Dobbs came through with a homer over the left wall, giving Tech the 2-1 lead. Eastern pitcher Kelsey Anderson then settled down and got out of the inning without allowing any more damage, but Eastern wasn’t able to get its bats going in the home half of the seventh, bringing the final score to 2-1 in favor of the Golden Eagles.
“If we can keep the ball in the park, our defense can usually handle anything,” Worthington said.
Anderson was stuck with the loss for Eastern as she gave up two earned runs on six hits in her complete game. Anderson struck out seven and walked one in the contest. The loss dropped her record to 13-8 on the year.
“Kelsey pitched a pretty good ball game,” Worthington said.
Bayless picked up the win for Tech as she gave up only two hits and one run in 6.1 innings of work. Bayless’ record improved to 17-5 on the season.
“Bayless is one of the best pitchers in the conference and is one of the best pitchers that we’ve seen all year,” Worthington said. “If we make her bring it and put it in the zone we can hit it, but we were just so aggressive that we helped her out quite a bit by swinging at some bad pitches.”
Diana Barreras and Jones were the only two Colonels to pick up a hit in the game. Both doubled in the contest.
“I don’t think we played bad at all,” Worthington said. “It was just one of those deals where they got the seventh inning homerun, and it could have gone either way.”
Eastern vs. Austin Peay
The Colonels went to work over the weekend when they won their seventh-straight conference series over the Governors.
“The first game that we played, they had a pitcher that threw the ball up in the strike zone and we chased it,” Worthington, said. “When we faced their other pitcher we did a good job. When we faced the same pitcher that beat us the first day, we made her bring the ball and put it in the zone. If we swing at good pitches, we are really good hitters.”
Eastern fell in the first game of the series by a score of 3-1.
“They had some pretty good hitters on their team,” Worthington said.
After losing the first game, the Colonels came back and took the second game of the doubleheader, then went on to win the final game of the series.
“We won the second games pretty easily, but we’re just not finishing games off,” Worthington said.
In the second game of the series Eastern picked up the 11-5 victory.
The Colonels were led by Anderson who was four for five in the game.
Barreras was two for three in the game.
“Barreras did an exceptional job on the bases,” Worthington said. “She didn’t hit the ball exceptionally well, but she really played well.”
In the final game of the series, Eastern picked up another victory.
The Colonels got on the board in the first and never looked back en route to a 7-3 finish.
Jen Christiansen led the Colonels by going a perfect three for three in the game with two runs in the game.
“Jen is a sneaky hitter,” Worthington said. “She’s not going to hit homeruns and probably not doubles, but she just finds ways to get on base.”
Barreras was two for three in this game as well.
The Colonels will travel to Morehead State today at 3 p.m. and will wrap up their road trip after traveling to Southeast Missouri over the weekend.
“I like our chances and I like our team, if we play like we can, we should be hard to beat,” Worthington said.