Columbia, S.C.-Tennessee State remained perfect on the early season by holding off Cleveland State on day two of the Palmetto Classic. The Tigers improved to 2-0 as they defeated CSU 5-3 on a chilly Saturday evening.
With the sun going down and the temperatures dropping to a wind chilled 32 degrees, sophomore Olivia Gamache (1-0) toed the rubber and fanned the first three batters of the game. The Exeter, R.I., native would finish with six strike outs in five innings of work, as she picked up her first career win.
Dara Toman led off the bottom of the second inning with a home run to centerfield to give Cleveland State a 1-0 lead that held through the third. The Tigers would take advantage of two Viking errors and added timely hitting to explode for five runs in the top half of the fourth.
After a leadoff walk by Jordan Rehl, senior Kelly Troglin hit a sharp ground ball to shortstop Cynthia Woodard that looked to be a potential double play. Woodards throw was off line and ended up in right field. Rehl would advance to third, while Troglin was able to reach second. Ashley Haynes would walk to load the bases, and with one out, Brittany Davis stepped up and drove a ball to left center plating Rehl and Troglin for a 2-1 lead.
Two batters later, the Tigers took advantage on another Viking miscue as Jennifer Givens lifted a ball to deep left center. CSU's, Alicia Nichols was able to get settled for the catch, but the ball bounced out and allowed Givens to reach third. Davis and Savannah Gutierrez were able to score on the play and give TSU a 4-1 lead.
Tedra Alford would close out the scoring in the fourth with a triple off the fence in left center, allowing Givens to touch home. The triple was Alford's third hit in a 3-for-4 effort.
Cleveland State would score a run in the fifth and threatened in the sixth inning with a lead-off walk followed by a double to put runners on second and third. Freshman Shea Morris would relieve Gamache and enticed Cynthia Woodard into a fly ball to Givens in center. Toman tagged at third and tested the Tigers defense. Givens would throw a one-hopper to catcher Devin Amar who swept a tag on the Viking runner for a double play. CSU would pick up a run off a hit one batter later to close the score to 5-3 after six innings of play.
Morris came back out in the seventh and struck out the first two batters before Gutierrez caught a fly ball in left field to secure the win. Morris notched her first save of her career.
Davis finished 2-for-3 with a double, a run and two RBI, while Amar, 1-for-3, picked up a hit in her second consecutive game.
Haynes was 1-for-3 with a walk and Kate Morris, 1-for-2, collected her first collegiate hit with a double to left center.
TSU sits atop of the Palmetto Classic standings at 2-0. Western Kentucky and host South Carolina are each 2-1. Winthrop is 1-2 and Cleveland State is 0-3.
Due to early morning temperatures, the TSU-Western Kentucky game has been moved back an hour and will now start at 11 a.m. ET. The morning game is the first of two for the Tigers on the final day of the three-day tournament. Tennessee State closes out play with a 4 p.m. game against Winthrop. Live stats for all games this weekend can be found on tsutigers.com.