NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Two four-run innings solidify the championship for Tennessee State in the 2014 Tiger Invitational. TSU exploded in the fourth and fifth innings to claim a five-inning, 8-0 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff and capped a perfect 5-0 record during the three-day event.
With the win, TSU improves to 12-15 on the season and records the fourth five-game win streak in program history, matching a streak in 2004. It is the first of its kind since the start of the 2009 season when the Tigers opened 9-0. In 2006, the Tigers won six in a row.
TSU is now 8-2 over the last 10 games.
Eight Tigers collected a hit on Sunday, led by Tayler Shimizu and Courtney Gearlds who each finished 2-for-2. Shimizu scored twice, drove in three and recorded her first extra base hit of her career with a double in the fourth. Gearlds scored once and plated two runs on the day.
The duo was named to the all-tournament team.
Shimizu drove in the first two runs of the game in the fourth inning as she hit the Tigers’ third double in a row as she chased home Rebekka Gross and Kiarra Freeman. Gearlds followed by reaching base when she was hit by a pitch for the 11th time this season. Liz Stansberry reached base on an errant throw on a sacrifice bunt to load the bases for Lindsey Burgess. The sophomore, who batted .500 over the course of the invitational, singled up the middle to bring home Shimizu and Gearlds to give TSU a 4-0 lead.
That would be all Shea Morris (7-6) would need as she picked up her first shutout of the year. The junior threw a one-hitter, while striking out seven Golden Lions.
The Tigers would make the Morris performance stand by scoring four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to close out the game. TSU loaded the bases as Jayna Hanawahine was hit by a pitch and Gross and Freeman were issued walks. Shimizu plated Hanawahine on a single deep into the hole at shortstop. The Tigers tacked on two more as Gearlds singled up the middle to score Gross and Freeman. The game ended as Shimizu scored off a Burgess grounder.
Morris was named to the all-tournament team as she appeared in all five games and finished 2-0 with three saves. The Lawrenceburg native did not allow a run and yielded just four hits in 12.2 innings of work. Morris struck out 22 batters and was a part of three shutouts.
Burgess was named the Invitational MVP picking up eight hits in 16 at bats with two doubles and a home run. Burgess scored five times and drove in seven.
The Tigers will travel to face #17 Georgia before returning home to begin Ohio Valley Conference play. The matchup with the Bulldogs can be heard on tsutigers.com.
MVP: Lindsey Burgess - Tennessee State
Shea Morris - Tennessee State
Tayler Shimizu - Tennessee State
Courtney Gearlds - Tennessee State
Tiressa Jacobs - Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Lacie Sutterfield - Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Lindsay Friedman - Saint Louis
Sabrina Edmonds - North Carolina A&T