NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Kate Morris delivered a three-run home run in the top of the sixth inning to lead the Tigers to victory to open the 2014 season. Tennessee State secured a 3-2 win over East Tennessee State at the Music City Classic on a frigid Friday afternoon.
The temperature sat at 28 degrees as both teams took the field at Draper Field at Smith Stadium. ETSU took an early 1-0 lead in the second inning with an unearned run off of TSU starter Olivia Gamache. The senior pitcher tried to hold ETSU at bay, but was charged with a second run in the fourth inning.
The Tigers struggled to get anything going against ETSU freshman pitcher Taylor Carter. Kate Morris collected the lone Tiger hit off Carter, a double to left center, in the second until the sixth inning. Carter would fan the first batters she faced in the sixth, before TSU mounted a two-out rally.
Ashley Haynes hit a ball back up the middle that Carter tried to backhand. The ball glanced off the tip of her outstretched glove and directed the ball away from shortstop Latosha Rectenwald. Lindsey Burgess followed with a line drive single to centerfield pushing Haynes to second and setting up the clutch at bat by Morris. The junior stepped up and drove a 2-0 pitch high over the wall in left center to clear the bases and give TSU the 3-2 advantage.
The Tigers then relied on Kate’s twin sister, Shea Morris, and the defense to close out ETSU. The pitching Morris entered the game in relief of Gamache in the fourth inning and shut down the Bucs over the final 3.2 innings to earn the win. Morris (1-0) earned the win as she surrendered one hit on her way to striking out six.
Gamache allowed five hits and no earned runs, while fanning three in her 3.1 innings of work.
Carter (0-1) suffered the loss, striking out five and giving up five hits.
Kate Morris finished the game 2-for-3 with a run, a double, a homerun and three runs batted in.
Haynes, Burgess and freshman Courtney Gearlds each finished 1-for-3 on the day.
The Tigers will face #32 Virginia Tech at 12:30pm and Lipscomb at 5:30pm. Both games will be played at Lipscomb and can be heard live on TSUTigers.com.