TIGERS DROP HEARTBREAKER TO SAMFORD, 5-4
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.-After building an early lead the Tennessee State softball team lost a tight ball game at Samford on Saturday afternoon, 5-4. The Bulldogs improved to 27-19, 12-9 in the Ohio Valley Conference, while the Tigers fell to 31-20, 9-12. The Tigers scored in the first inning for the third consecutive game against Samford. Freshman Tamara Perkins led off the game with an infield single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Melanie Cruz. Junior Jennifer Gregory put the Tigers on the board with a shot over the left field fence and a 2-0 lead. The Bulldogs would get one run back in the bottom half of the first inning as they pieced together two hits and a stolen base off starting pitcher Amanda Vaught. Senior Diana Clifford opened the second inning by getting hit by a pitch from Samford starter Susanna Meyer. Clifford would steal second and advanced to third on a base hit by freshman Chelsea Brown. Junior Katie Anderson entered to run for Brown at first base and created another run for the Tigers as she stole second. The throw from Bulldog catcher Tracey Deaux would get away to allow Clifford to score from third. After an Erin Finneran sacrifice bunt to move Anderson to third, Perkins picked-up her second consecutive with an RBI double to left field. The Tigers increased their lead to 4-1 and chased Meyer from the game. Relief pitcher Stephanie Royall worked the final 5.1 innings holding the Tigers to one hit and giving the Bulldogs an opportunity to get back in the game. Samford cut the score to 4-3 in the fourth inning with a two-run home run by Liz Pearse. Samford tied the game with a run in the fifth off senior Candace Hildebrand and took the lead with another run in the sixth off Vaught, who re-entered in the fifth inning. Vaught gave up four runs on eight hits. She struck out five and dropped to 14-8 on the year. TSU returns home for a seven-game home stand to close out the regular season. The Tigers will step out of conference for the last time on Wednesday, April 25, as they host Middle Tennessee State for a single game. Start time is set for 4 p.m. at Tiger Field.