Nashville, Tenn. - Sophomore Ashley Haynes delivered an RBI single and freshman Shea Morris struck out the final two batters to help Tennessee State snap a 14-game losing streak on Wednesday night. The Tigers dropped the first game 9-4 at E.S. Rose Park, before rebounding with an eight-inning 4-3 win.
With the split, TSU is now 11-31, while the Bruins move to 9-31.
Junior Tedra Alford led the Tigers in hitting with five hits in seven at bats, with a walk and a double, while scoring twice and driving in two. Sophomore Devin Amar had a similar day as she was 4-for-6 with a walk, a sacrifice fly, a double, a triple and two RBI, while crossing the plate once. Amar was also stellar behind the plate throwing out two would-be base stealers and picking off another runner.
Junior Jennifer Givens collected three hits on the day and stole her 31st base of the season. Givens continues to lead the Ohio Valley Conference in thefts and is now one behind the TSU single-season record.
TSU jumped on top with two runs in the second inning on a two-run single by Alford and added two more in the third, the first on an error and the second on a Tayler Shimizu bases loaded walk. Shea Morris seemed to be in control not allowing a hit and striking out five in the first 2.2 innings, but the freshman ran into trouble in the bottom of the third surrendering a three-run home run to cut the Tigers lead to 4-3.
Belmont continued the assault in the fourth as they opened the inning with back-to-back home runs to take the lead 5-4. Morris would only see three batters in the fifth inning, after giving up another solo home run, and made way for Susie Burke who tossed the final inning and two-thirds in the 9-4 loss.
The Tigers opened the scoring in the second game as well. Amar ripped a line drive into right field and legged out a triple that chased home Givens from first base. But once again, the Bruins would fight back as they loaded the base with no outs against Olivia Gamache. The freshman would battle and entice three ground ball outs and escaped the second inning allowing just one run on a walk.
The offense would get the lead back for Gamache as Alford, Givens and Amar would manufacture a run in the third. Alford doubled off the left field fence and moved to third on a bunt single by Givens. That would set the table for a sacrifice fly to right field by Amar to put TSU up 2-1.
In the fifth, Alford would race around from second as Rehl singled into center to extend the lead to 3-1.
Gamache was very solid in the circle working 5.1 innings and scattered four hits and three walks. Belmont was able to take advantage of a hit, an error and a sacrifice bunt to force Coach Jeff Dabney to make a call to the bullpen. Susie Burke entered and faced one batter, who was able to get a hit through the right side of the infield that brought home two runs to tie the game 3-3.
Coach Dabney once again went to the bullpen summoning Shea Morris. The freshman pitcher and Amar teamed up for a strike out-throw out double play to end the Bruins threat in the sixth. Morris would work the final 2.2 innings not allowing a hit and fanning five.
The pitching staff set the stage for Haynes to be the final offensive hero in the top of the eighth. With two outs and Gutierrez on third, the sophomore shortstop hit a 2-2 pitch back up the middle and beat out an infield single that drove in what would be the winning run.
Morris earned the decision in both games and is now 8-18 in her rookie campaign. The Lawrenceburg, Tenn., native finished the day with ten strikeouts and increased her OVC leading total to 156. Mia Vierra was also the pitcher of record on both games for the Bruins and is 6-13.
The Tigers return to OVC play on Saturday, April 21, at Southeast Missouri State.
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