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Softball Opens 2014 Season on Friday

Courtesy: Tennessee State Sports Information  
Release: 02/06/2014
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee State softball team opens the 2014 season at the Music City Classic hosted by Lipscomb University and Belmont University. The Tigers will begin their campaign a day earlier than originally scheduled due to forecasted weather. TSU will kick-off the year with a 1:30pm game on Friday, Feb. 7 against East Tennessee State.
 
The Tigers will face #32 Virginia Tech at 11:30am on Saturday and complete the day at 4:30pm against the host Bison. TSU and Miami (Ohio) will close out the tournament on Sunday morning at 11:00am.
 
The Tigers will play all of their games this weekend at Draper Diamond on the campus of Lipscomb University. You can listen to all games LIVE on tsutigers.com.
 
TSU looks to improve on a 14-35 season with the return of Shea Morris and Olivia Gamache. The pitching duo accounted for every inning pitched a year ago. Morris is on the verge of claiming the top position of almost every pitching category in the TSU record books. The junior finished 10-17 with a 3.17 ERA and 195 strikeouts in 183.1 innings in 2013. Gamache is coming off her best season as she tallied a 3.74 ERA and is now in the Top 10 of seven TSU career pitching categories. Head coach Jeff Dabney is counting on freshman Hannah St. Clair to give the pitching staff help this spring.
 
Sophomore Kiarra Freeman will look to retain her form from last season where she batted .361. Freeman was named to the Ohio Valley Conference All-Newcomer team in 2013 and will roam the outfield for the Tigers. Junior Tayler Shimizu started 20 games a year ago and will join with freshman Courtney Gearlds and sophomore-transfer Carmen Hill to replace graduated centerfielder Jennifer Givens. Givens left TSU with the single-season stolen base record and batted a team-leading .384.
 
Sophomore Lindsey Burgess and Junior Kate Morris handled the majority of the catching in 2013, but the Tigers will now count on freshman Rebekka Gross to handle the receiving duties. Kate Morris will again split time behind the plate as Burgess will move to shortstop.
 
The infield will be built around senior Ashley Haynes who has played shortstop, third base and second base during her first three seasons. In her final season, Haynes will take on the duties at first base. In 2013, the Knoxville product experienced her best season at the plate as she collected 33 hits in 109 at bats for a .303 batting average.
 
Sophomore Jana Hanawahine shared the team lead for long-balls with three and will make the move from short a year ago to second base. Freshman Liz Stansberry is tabbed to hold down the corner at third base.
 
 
East Tennessee State (0-0)
2013 Record: 13-34
Conference: Atlantic Sun
2013 Finish: 1-24/10th
Series Record: 2-0
Last Time Played: 2006, Won 1-0
Last Win: 2006, 1-0
 
ETSU returns eight starters from last season's 13-34 squad. Senior Katie Wolff, junior Nicole Fox, and senior Jackie Baird lead the Bucs into the new season. Wolff started 24 games in the circle and finished 6-19 with a 2.96 ERA, while Fox stole a team-best 16 bases last season, and topped the ETSU with 55 hits, 24 runs, and a .333 batting average. Baird (.271) led the Bucs with nine doubles, five homeruns and 25 RBI.
 
 
#32 Virginia Tech (0-0)
2013 Record: 38-21
Conference: ACC
2013 Finish: 9-11/6th
Series Record: 0-1
Last Time Played: 2001, Lost 1-10
Last Win: N/A
 
The Hokies boast a veteran squad with five seniors and six juniors. VT will be led by Kylie McGoldrick who batted .344 in 157 at bats in 2013. McGoldrick led the team with 11 homeruns and added 28 runs, 13 doubles and 33 RBI. Kelly Heinz is the top returning pitcher after posting a 17-8 record with a 2.68 ERA. Heinz picked up three saves and 169 punch-outs in 156.2 innings.
 
 
Lipscomb (0-0)
2013 Record: 35-24
Conference: Atlantic Sun
2013 Finish: 18-8/4th
Series Record: 5-11
Last Time Played: 2010, Lost 0-3
Last Win: 2009, 6-5
 
Lipscomb returns seven starters and three pitchers from 2013. Brittany Elmore looks to build on her freshman season where she led the Bisons with a .340 average, 42 runs scored, four triples and 36 stolen bases. Gracey Aguirre (.327) supplied some pop with 14 doubles and seven dingers. Paige Neely (.326) led the team with 42 RBI as she added 10 doubles and ten long balls. In addition, Lipscomb will receive the service of Kelsey Cartwright who was lost after 16 games due to an injury. At the time, the red-shirt senior was batting .378 in 45 at bats with five doubles, a triple, four homeruns and 14 RBI. Heather Parker and Tanner Sanders handled a majority of the work in the circle. Parker tallied a 2.29 ERA in 186.2 innings of work, while recording 143 strikeouts three saves, five shutouts and a 16-12 record. Sanders (18-10) threw 190 innings in her rookie campaign with five shutouts and 136 strikeouts.
 
 
Miami (Ohio) (0-0)
2013 Record: 20-34
Conference: Mid-American
2013 Finish: 12-10/2nd East
Series Record: 0-1
Last Time Played: 2000, Lost 2-10
Last Win: N/A
 
The RedHawks return the entire starting lineup, including three pitchers, from last year’s 20-34 squad. Jenna Modic, Kayla Ledbetter, Hailey Reed and Taylor Shuey all hit better than .300 a year ago and look to pace the team once again. Modic led the team with a .341 average, while Ledbetter topped Miami with seven homeruns and 33 RBI. Reed and Shuey equaled Ledbetter with nine doubles. In the circle, Megan Mattera tossed a team-high 134.1 innings and compiled a 7-9 record with a 3.60 ERA. Paige Myers finished 8-17 with a 4.15 ERA and fanned 118 batters in 131.2 innings of work.

TENNESSEE STATE Softball


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