TOUGH FIRST GAME LOSS PAVES WAY TO TWINBILLSETBACK FOR SOFTBALL TEAM IN SEASON OPENERS
NASHVILLE --- Tennessee State opened the 2006 season at cross-town opponent Belmont University, losing 9-8 in the first game and then 6-1 in the nightcap in a doubleheader played at Aquinas College. Despite the losses, head coach Joyce Maudie is optimistic with what she saw and said the early game action is a good starting point for her team. "We did some things well, but we have to get our pitching settled," said the Tiger coach. "We hit the ball very well in the first game. We hope to learn and improve from the experience of playing our first games. In the opener, TSU scored first after a walk to Heather Ebersole, a stolen base and Leena Worrell coming through with a double to right field. However, the lead was short-lived as Belmont scored five runs in its half of the first inning on four hits and a pair of costly TSU errors. The Tigers answered by tying the game in the second as Nira Robbins drove in a pair of runs and Worrell had a RBI single and Erin Finneran has a run-scoring hit. A three-run homer by Renae Beauchman keyed a four-run fourth as Belmont regained the lead for good. The Tigers made another rally with three runs in the sixth, but came up one run short. Robbins started the rally with a double to left center. The Tigers got the leadoff batter on in the seventh on a Diana Clifford, but could not push the tying run across. In game two, Belmont broke open a scoreless tie with a five-run fifth inning. The Tigers avoided the shutout as Emily Samana hit a line drive home run over the left field fence with two outs in the seventh. The hit was only TSU's second off of Belmont pitcher Sami Parks. TSU will play in the Mississippi State Tournament this weekend.