Richmond, Ky. -- Tennessee State took to the road looking to get back into the win column, but ran into a pair of run rule losses in Richmond, Ky., on Saturday afternoon. Eastern Kentucky earned a six inning 8-0 victory to open the day and closed out play with a five inning 10-2 win.
EKU (18-22, 10-9 OVC) jumped out quickly scoring two runs in the first and added three more in the third for a 5-0 lead. Colonels' pitcher Leanna Pittsenberger was perfect over the first three innings before surrendering a single to Jennifer Givens in the top of the fourth.
TSU (10-29, 3-17) tried to battle back in the fifth with Savannah Gutierrez and Aisha Walker picking up hits. EKU was up to the challenge as they were able to cut down Gutierrez as she was trying to score on Walker's single to left.
The Colonels were able to close out the game with three runs in the sixth. Shea Morris took the loss giving up eight runs, seven earned, on nine hits. The freshman pitcher falls to 7-17 as she notched four strikeouts.
TSU opened the second game by taking a 1-0 lead on a towering blast over the left field wall by Tedra Alford. The home run is the second on the year for the junior third baseman.
The lead did not last long as EKU came right back with a run in the bottom of the inning. But the Tigers went back on the attack putting pressure on EKU in the second before stranding two runners. This would become a reoccurring trend as TSU finished the game with ten runners left on the base paths.
The Tigers took the lead in the third as Alford opened with a double to right center and proceeded to steal third on a pickoff attempt. Alford scored on a passed ball as Jordan Rehl walked making the score 2-1. TSU left runners on second and third to end the top of the third. But once again, EKU charged back with three runs in the bottom of the inning.
Trailing 4-2 in the fourth, Ashley Haynes hit a hard line drive off the base of the wall in left center putting another Tiger runner in scoring position. Kate Morris added a single and Alford loaded the bases with two outs giving the Big Blue another great opportunity. But luck stayed away from TSU as it was ruled a third strike pitch hit Rehl for the final out.
The Colonels took full advantage of their opportunities as they crossed the plate three times in each the fourth and fifth innings to close out the 10-2 victory. Susie Burke fell to 0-4 as she allowed ten runs, seven earned on 13 hits and one walk.
Gutierrez led the day at the plate, as well as in the field for Tennessee State. The freshman leftfielder secured five outs, including stealing a home run, and picked up an assist throwing out a runner trying to stretch a single into a double. Gutierrez notched a hit in the first game and added two more in the second, finishing 3-for-5.
Haynes, (Kate) Morris and Alford all picked up two hits on the day, with Haynes drilling a double. Alford's double and dinger produced an RBI and two runs scored.
Rehl, Walker, Givens, and Kelly Troglin all collected hits on the day.
TSU and EKU will finish out the series with a single game at 1:00 p.m. ET, on Sunday.