STATESBORO, Ga. – The Tigers closed out play at the Eagle Classic on Sunday with a split. Tennessee State earned its second consecutive win over Middle Tennessee, as they started the day with a 5-1 win. Georgia Southern then stopped the Tigers, 3-0, in the final game of the classic.
TSU finished the weekend with a 2-3 record and is now 6-14 on the season. GSU improved to 13-5, while MTSU dropped to 5-17.
The two wins over Middle Tennessee were just the sixth and seventh wins, respectively, in the 46 game series between the two squads. TSU followed up a 7-1 victory a day ago by jumping ahead in the first inning and adding to the lead throughout the game.
Jayna Hanawahine would open the game with one of her three hits on the game and was the first of 11 hits on the game for the Tigers. The sophomore advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Courtney Gearlds and moved to third on a wild pitch to give TSU their first opportunity to score. Lindsey Burgess sat on a 1-2 pitch and delivered a ball deep into left center for a sacrifice fly, allowing Hanawahine to cross home plate to take an early 1-0 lead.
The Tigers added another run in the third as Rebekka Gross came through with a two-out, RBI single to right, driving in Burgess from second. The hit by Gross joined Burgess and Kate Morris’ as one of three hits in the third.
An inning later, TSU would continue to add to their lead by taking advantage of a Blue Raider miscue. Tayler Shimizu reached on a walk and moved up 60-feet on a single by Hanawahine. Gearlds used her speed to force a mistake as she beat out a soft-slap to first. The hit also produced an error as the throw trying to get Gearlds found its way into the right field corner allowing Shimizu and Hanawahine to score easily for a 4-0 lead.
Starter Olivia Gamache and reliever Shea Morris would make the early runs stick. Gamache was able to get out of jams through her five innings of work. MTSU would strand nine runners on base against Gamache, including bases loaded situations in the second and fourth innings.
The Blue Raiders answered with a run in the fourth as Kayla Toney earned a walk with the bases juiced.
Shimizu and Hanawahine would team up to get the run back and regain the four run lead. Hanawahine dropped a double into centerfield that brought home Shimizu.
Morris entered the game in the sixth inning to preserve the win for Gamache and the Tigers. Morris held MTSU scoreless in her two innings and added two more strikeouts to her total. Gamache was touched for a run on six hits and three walks. The senior struck out four as she improved to 2-6 on the season.
Hanawahine led the charge in the victory finishing 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI. She was followed by Kiarra Freeman who was 2-for-3.
Shimizu and Burgess were each 1-for-2. Shimizu added a walk and two runs scored, while Burgess a run, an RBI, a sacrifice fly and was hit by a pitch.
Game two proved to be an old fashion pitcher’s duel in a game that lasted just 81 minutes. Hannah St. Clair was able to stymie the Georgia Southern attack through the early innings, as she held the Eagles hitless through the first three innings. St. Clair was touched for a single in the fourth to break up the no-hit bid.
GSU would break through with three runs on three hits in the fifth inning. St. Clair would go on to retire the final four batters. The freshman fell to 0-2 on four hits, two walks and two strikeouts.
Sarah Purvis (6-2) pitched a two-hitter, while walking one and striking out 12. Kate Morris was the first to reach base with a single just inside the left field line in the fourth. An inning later, Freeman picked up an infield single, but was stranded on base. Burgess was the final Tiger to reach base with a walk in the sixth.
TSU will return home for an eight game home stand. The Tigers host Holy Cross on Tuesday for a double header and Ohio on Wednesday for a single game. The Tiger Invitational highlights the weekend, as North Carolina A&T, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Saint Louis will square off with the Tigers during the three day event.