TEMPE, Ariz. – The Tigers opened their six-game stretch in the Valley of the Sun by dropping a hard fought game to No. 5 Arizona State in Tempe on Thursday evening. Tennessee State (1-4) took an early lead on the Sun Devils, but ended up falling 10-3. It was just the third game this season ASU (7-0) would have to play a seven inning ballgame.
TSU put together a three-run inning in the top of the second after surrendering a run in the first. Carmen Hill earned a one-out walk and moved up one base each on back-to-back singles by lefties, Courtney Gearlds and Kiarra Freeman. Liz Stansberry drew a walk off ASU starter Alexis Cooper to force home Hill to tie at the 1-1.
Two batters later, Jayna Hanawahine delivered a single over the outstretched glove of shortstop Cheyenne Coyle to plate Gearlds and Freeman for an early 3-1 lead. The three runs by the Tigers matched the amount of runs ASU allowed in their first six games of the season.
Senior Mackenzie Popescue entered the game to retire Kate Morris and proceeded to retire the next twelve batters. Gearlds ended the Sun Devils’ hurlers’ streak with a double down the right field line to lead off the seventh inning, but was stranded as the game ended. Popescue (4-0) earned the win in relief.
ASU answered right away after the Tigers second, with four runs in the bottom half of the inning to regain the lead 5-3. The Sun Devils would score two in the fourth and fifth innings and added another in the sixth to produce the final margin.
Olivia Gamache (0-2) was tagged with the loss, as she was unable to retire a batter in the second inning. The senior pitcher was touched for five runs off five hits and a two walks. Shea Morris entered in relief in the second inning and tossed the final five innings. Morris allowed six hits and four walks as ASU scored five runs, four earned, while striking out five.
The Tigers travel to Tucson to begin the three-day Hillenbrand Invitational. Due to poor travel conditions in the Atlanta area, Georgia Tech was unable to make the trip to Arizona, causing changes to the tournament schedule. TSU will play their first game Friday morning at 11:00am (MT) versus Grand Canyon and will close out the day against #4 Alabama at 6:00pm (MT).