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Tigers Host Eastern Illinois on Friday and Saturday


Courtesy: Tennessee State Sports Information  
Release: 04/05/2012
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Courtesy: Sam Jordan / TSU Athletics
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Nashville, Tenn. - The Tigers are coming off five consecutive road losses to the top two conference teams this season, UT Martin and Jacksonville State. TSU returns home on Friday for a three-game series against the defending Ohio Valley Conference champions, Eastern Illinois Panthers. Day one will consist of two games with the first scheduled for 3:00 p.m. On Saturday, the two teams will close out the series with a single game at 1:00 p.m.

The Tigers enter the weekend at 10-23 overall record and 3-11 in conference play. Eastern Illinois has won four of their last five conference games and is 7-6 in the OVC and 17-15 overall.

Tedra Alford used a 5-for-7 performance on Wednesday night at Jacksonville State to improve her season average to .283. Alford also registered her first home run of the year after leading the Tigers in 2011. Jennifer Givens leads TSU with a .308 average and snatched three more bases against JSU to increase her conference leading total to 29.

Aisha Walker has returned to the starting lineup after a preseason injury and has started the last seven games. Walker has given a spark at the top of the lineup with a .400 on base percentage in 20 plate appearances with three runs scored, one RBI and 2-for-2 in stolen bases.

Shea Morris has hurled 121.2 innings leading TSU at 7-13 and a 3.22 ERA. The freshman continues to lead the OVC with 124 punch outs while holding opponents to a .256 average.

Live Coverage: You can follow all the live action via live blog on tsutigers.com. Join in the conversation as all the action will be brought to you beginning at 2:30 p.m. on Friday and 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Eastern Illinois (17-15, 7-6)
2011 Record: 40-12
Conference: Ohio Valley
2011 Finish: 26-4
Series Record: 11-31
Last Time Played: 2011, Lost 3-10
Last Win: 2009, 11-6

Bailey O'Dell sits atop the hitting charts for the Panthers with 42 hits in 108 at bats for a .389 average. She is the top run producer for EIU crossing home plate 20 times and driving in another 19. O'Dell leads with ten doubles and is second on the squad with a triple and three home runs. As a team, the Panthers are batting .255 and are averaging 3.2 runs per game while hitting 36 doubles, four triples and ten blasts. On the base paths, Eastern Illinois has stolen 26 bases in 38 attempts.

In the circle, the Panthers boast a 2.53 team ERA. Stephanie Maday and Hanna Mennenga spearhead the staff with 120.1 and 76.0 innings pitched, respectively. Maday is 9-8 and continues to be one of the top pitchers in the OVC with a 2.04 ERA and 112 strikeouts. Mennenga is 8-4 and has fanned 60 opponents and allowed just 28 walks on the season.


On the National Scene
Jennifer Givens moved up three spots to fifth in the country with a 0.84 steals per game average as reported by the NCAA on April 2. The junior recorded three more swipes at Jacksonville State on Wednesday increasing her season total to 29 and spg to 0.88. Givens, the steals leader in the OVC, is now second on the TSU Single Season list after passing Koralyn Graham's 2000 season total of 27. The Kingston, Tenn., native needs four thefts over the next 22 games to surpass Jennifer Culberson's single season best of 32 in 2009.

Get a Whiff of This
Pitcher Shea Morris continues to lead the Ohio Valley Conference with 124 strikeouts in 121.2 innings. The freshman ranks fourth on the TSU Single Season list behind Amanda Vaught's 261 (2007) and 177 (2008), as well as Caitlin Eaton's 130 in 2009. Morris is averaging 7.3 K's per seven innings, which is good for 68th in the nation and just behind Lauren Haeger of Florida. During the March 3rd contest between the Tigers and Gators, Haeger recorded four strikeouts, while Morris sat down six of the 6th ranked team in the country.

Making a Career of It
Tedra Alford has etched her name into the Tigers record books. Half way through her junior year, she is in the Top 10 in three separate categories. Alford's 40 walks are seventh and just three free passes away from tying Koralyn Graham (1997-2000) and Keisha Felton (1994-97) at 43 for fifth. The Griffin, Ga., native is also in the books for her defense as she is eighth all-time in assists with 164 and sits 25 behind Nicole Arnold's (1996-2000) total of 189. Alford's highest ranking is fourth in hit by pitches. The infielder has been plunked ten times and is ten bruises away from catching current student-assistant Brittany Webb (2008-11) who is third on the list with 20.


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