NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tigers dropped two non-conference games to Samford on Wednesday evening at Tiger Field. The Bulldogs pulled away from Tennessee State for a 12-4 win in game one, before needing 11 innings to grab the night cap 4-3. TSU is now 16-27, while Samford improved to 30-12.
Game two took over three hours and saw six different pitchers step into the circle. The Bulldogs used two runs in the first inning off starting pitcher Hannah St. Clair who pitched just three innings, after working four in game one. Those would be the only runs the freshman would surrender in the night game and issued three hits and one walk.
Shea Morris entered the game in the fourth and threw six innings of shutout ball, allowing three hits and walking one. The junior opened the fifth inning by fanning Arica Dykes to record her 500th, becoming the first hurler in TSU history to reach the milestone. Morris finished with five on the evening.
The Tigers tried to make Morris the winner as they evened up the score with two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Courtney Gearlds opened the inning with the team’s first triple of the season. With two outs, Kiarra Freeman earned a walk and stole second on the next pitch. On the play, Gearlds successfully executed the double steal to cut the lead to 2-1. The throw home would get away allowing Freeman to move to third.
Two batters later, Kate Morris drove a ball into left center for a double to plate Freeman, tying the score at 2-2. The Tigers were not able to push another run across in the fifth and didn’t take advantage of runners in the sixth, seventh, ninth and tenth, leaving six runners on, 13 in the game.
In the eleventh, Samford picked up two runs off Olivia Gamache who was working in her second inning. The Tigers were able to load the bases in the bottom of the inning and cut the lead to 4-3 as Liz Stansberry reached on a fielder’s choice, driving home Ashley Haynes.
Gamache (4-9) took the loss as she surrendered a hit, a walk and two unearned runs.
Gearlds finished 3-for-4 with a walk, while Freeman ended the game 2-for-3 with two walks.
In the opener, the Tigers seemed to pick up three runs in the first inning. With one out and bases loaded, Kate Morris flew out to center to drive in Gearlds. After a throw home, the Bulldogs catcher would launch a ball to the fence in centerfield allowing Rebekka Gross and Ashley Haynes to circle the bases. After the play was done, the umpires upheld an appeal from Samford on Gearlds leaving early. The freshman’s run was taken off the board with the other standing.
After SU scratched a run in the top of the second, Lindsey Burgess would get the run back with a solo homerun to left center in the bottom of the inning. The bomb is the fifth on the season for the sophomore.
The Bulldogs took the lead in the third with a grand slam after three consecutive singles off St. Clair. The freshman worked the first four innings surrendering five runs, four earned, on six hits and a walk while striking out two.
In the fourth, Stansberry scored from second, as Freeman reached on a muffed ball at first. TSU trailed 5-4, but would not be able to dent the scoreboard again.
Samford continued their attack as they scored two runs in the fifth, four in the sixth and another in the seventh. Gamache worked the final three innings and was touched for seven runs, six earned, on six hits and six walks. St. Clair took the loss and is now 3-8.
Mollie Hanson earned the win in both games, improving to 18-7.
The Tigers return to Ohio Valley Conference play on Saturday, Apr. 12, as they begin a three game series at Tennessee Tech.