Auburn, Ala. - Tennessee State fell in the first two games of the Auburn Tiger Invitational on Friday afternoon. The Tigers dropped a hard fought 3-2 eight-inning decision to Auburn after struggling in a 10-4 loss to Bryant to open the day. The Tigers drop to 0-5, while Auburn improved to 8-0 and Bryant starts the season 1-0.
Olivia Gamache (0-2) went the distance in the eight-inning loss to Auburn. The junior pitcher scattered five hits and three walks, while fanning three, as she allowed just one earned run. Auburn took advantage of a two-out error in the top of the second that drove in the first run of the game and provided an early deficit for TSU.
The Tigers fought back to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth. Kacie Daugherty reached on a fielder's choice giving TSU a runner on first with two outs. Daugherty would take second on a wild pitch setting up a clutch opportunity for Tayler Shimizu. The sophomore needed just one pitch to step up to the challenge, as she drove a line drive single into right center that allowed Daugherty to even the score at 1-1.
The game would remain tied and moved to the eighth inning where the international tiebreaker was used. Auburn wasted no time as their runner, who was placed on second base to start the inning, advanced one base on a passed ball and scored a pitch later as Tiffany Howard singled up the middle.
After a double to leadoff hitter Morgan Estell, Auburn pushed a second run across on a groundout to Daugherty at second. Gamache was able to entice a pop fly and a groundout to get out of the inning with no further damage.
Brianna Roberts was placed on second to start the eighth for the Tigers and moved to third on a wild pitch. Daugherty would get TSU closer with a hard line drive into center pushing Roberts across the plate. Shimizu executed a sacrifice bunt moving Daugherty to second and giving the Big Blue an opportunity to tie the game. Kate Morris pinched-hit for Kiarra Freeman and earned a walk putting runners on first and second with just one out. Freeman would reenter to run for Morris, but the Tigers would get no closer as the Auburn pitching staff forced a ground out and a pop up to solidify the win.
In the first game, TSU jumped out with a run in the top of the first as Jennifer Givens led the game off with a single and quickly stole second base. Three batters later, Givens scampered home on a wild pitch.
The lead was short lived as pitcher Shea Morris (0-3) surrendered a home run, after a walk, to the second batter in the Bryant lineup. Morris would continue to struggle in the first allowing two more walks, but worked out of danger before settling in to a groove.
The Tigers regained the lead in the third as the top of the lineup once again proved the spark with back-to-back hits by Givens and Freeman. Jayne Hanawahine drove Givens home on a ground out to short, while Audrey Sensing collected the first hit of her career with a single to right that allowed Freeman to score giving TSU a 3-2 lead.
The Tigers ran into trouble in the fourth as back-to-back errors opened the inning and the Bulldogs to full advantage as they scored five unearned runs to take a 7-3 lead.
TSU would get one back in the top of the fifth as Sensing delivered her second consecutive RBI single that allowed Daugherty to score from second. The Tigers would get no closer than 7-4 as the opponents from the Northeast Conference added two more runs in the fifth and another in the sixth.
Sensing finished the day with three hits in seven at bats and two RBI, while Freeman, Daugherty, Givens and Ashley Haynes all collected two hits.
The Tigers continue play Saturday evening with a single game at 5:30 against UT Chattanooga. The game can be heard on tsutigers.com.