Softball starts 8-2, baseball sweeps opener

Chance Huff leans into a pitch during Tech’s Feb. 18 win over Wright State. Huff went five innings for Tech, doing the bulk of the pitching while recording nine strikeouts. // Photo by Tuna Ergan Student Publications

On Feb. 18-20, Tech’s softball team traveled to Starkville, Miss. to participate in the Bulldog Kickoff Classic. Heading into this tournament, the team was rolling with a 5-0 record following their 9-1 victory on Tuesday, Feb. 15 against Mercer and their impressive opening in the Buzz Classic. 

On Friday, Feb. 18 the Jackets opened the tournament against Central Arkansas and Southern Illinois.  The team split the two games, dropping the first to Central Arkansas 7-4. Tech held the lead early until the fifth inning when the Bears overtook them with five of their own runs. The Jackets bounced back in their next game, beating Southern Illinois 5-2. 

On Saturday, Tech played another double header with an early rematch against Southern Illinois before playing against Mississippi State later that day. 

The Jackets split the day once again, cruising to victory in their first game as they dominated the Salukis 6-1, before falling short against Mississippi State. The Bulldogs jumped ahead early on, securing a 3-0 lead in the second inning and were able to maintain control throughout the game. The Jackets attempted to fight back into the game in the fourth and fifth innings, narrowing the lead to 5-3, before Mississippi State secured their victory in the sixth by a score of 11-3 due to the mercy rule.

Entering the final day of the tournament Tech looked to get vengeance against the Bulldogs for their loss Saturday. The Jackets earned a decisive 4-1 victory against Mississippi State thanks to consistent contributions from  junior pitcher Blake Neleman. Tech Softball advanced their record to 8-2. The next action for the Jackets is the I-75 Tournament against Penn State, ETSU and Jacksonville State from Feb. 25-27 at Mewborn field. 

The Tech baseball team opened their season on Friday, Feb. 18 hosting the Wright State Raiders. In the first of three matchups this weekend, the Jackets pulled out a clutch 9-8 victory after Wright State fought back to take the lead in the ninth inning. The team’s late game heroics and dominating pitching performance secured the victory for the Jackets after the team capitalized on their 17 strikeouts. 

On Saturday, the second game of this series was never in question. After Tech jumped out to a 6-2 lead on the Raiders in the first inning, the team stayed in control throughout the game before finishing with an impressive 16-5 win. The Jackets’ five home runs were instrumental to their victory in which Drew Compton stood out with both right and left-handed home runs. 

After clinching the series, Tech entered Sunday with intentions of capping off the sweep against the Raiders in their final matchup. 

Wright State and the Jackets fought back and forth early on before Chandler Simpson secured their 9-6 victory with a triple in the eighth inning. 

The Jackets’ dominating weekend marked their first 3-0 start since the 2017 season and earned them a No. 7 ranking by Collegiate Baseball’s poll. Tech’s next series is at home against Gardner-Webb on Feb. 25-27.