TUCSON, Ariz. – The Tigers split a pair of games on day two of the Hillenbrand Invitational on Saturday afternoon. Tennessee State (2-7) earned a 3-2 victory over Grand Canyon University (4-6) and lost a five inning 10-1 game to No. 22 Arizona (6-0) in front of 2,471 fans.
The Tigers opened the day by avenging a loss from a day ago against Garand Canyon. Kate Morris continued her hot hitting with a double to left center, as Courtney Gearlds tried to score from first on the hit. GCU executed the relay to get the freshman as she slid in to home plate. Morris advanced to third two pitches later and scored on a passed ball late in the at bat to give TSU an early 1-0 lead.
The Lopes tied up the game at 1-1 in the top of the third with an unearned run off starter Shea Morris. The junior would get help in the Tigers half of the inning from her twin sister, as Kate Morris would once again come through in a key situation. Jayna Hanawahine reached on a one-out single and moved to second as Gearlds was hit-by-pitch for the second of three times in the game. Morris came up with a drive off the wall in left center driving in both base runners for a 3-1 lead.
The runs would stand as Shea Morris continued to put out any fires the Lopes tried to start. The hurler improved to 2-2 by allowing just six hits and a walk. Morris struck out five batters, including Camree Wartman for the final out of the game with runners on second and third.
In the late afternoon game, the Tigers tried to stand toe-to-toe with the Wildcats. Arizona looked to get things started early with a leadoff double by Hallie Wilson, but she was stranded at third as Morris recorded back-to-back strikeouts of Kellie Fox and Chelsea Goodacre.
Eventual winner, Michelle Floyd (1-0), would retire all nine batters she faced in her three innings of work. The perfect innings led to the bottom of the third when the Wildcats took advantage of a leadoff error and a two-out home run to take a 3-0 lead. Morris would give up four runs in the inning, all unearned, as Arizona took a 4-0 advantage into the fourth.
The Tigers would end a bid for a perfect game as Hanawahine greeted relief pitcher Nancy Bowling with a hard line drive over the wall in left center to cut the lead to 4-1. The blast is the second of the season for the Waimanalo, Hawai’i native.
It would be as close as the Tigers would get as UA exploded for six runs in the bottom of the fourth.
The Big Blue will wrap up play at the Hillenbrand Invitational as they face New Mexico at 9:00am (MT) on Sunday. All games can be heard at tsutigers.com.