Nashville, Tenn. -- Shea Morris pitched as well as one could through nine innings, but could not earn the win in an Ohio Valley Conference game Thursday afternoon at Tiger Field. Jacksonville State used two unearned runs in the ninth to secure a 2-0 win. TSU fell to 3-15 in the OVC and 10-27 overall, while the Gamecocks improved to 21-20 and 15-6 in conference.
Morris was on top of her game allowing just two runners to reach second base through the first eight innings. The Lawrenceburg product scattered four hits and three walks, while not allowing an earned run and striking out five over nine innings of work. Morris is now 7-16 and continues to lead the OVC with 139 strikeouts.
The Tigers would reach base in every inning except for the fourth and the ever so important ninth. Tiffany Harbin struck out seven and worked around six hits and four walks as she improved to 11-5.
Jennifer Givens led off the bottom of the first with a single to left, but was cut down by Kaycee Crow trying to steal second base. The Tigers continued to attack in the second as Aisha Walker earned a walk and safely reached second on an errant throw as Tedra Alford reached on a fielder's choice. Harbin stepped up and fanned the next two Tigers to avert and damage.
TSU tried to put together another threat in the second as Ashley Haynes received a two-out free pass. Savannah Gutierrez continued the threat with a single through the left side, but Harbin was able to get out of the inning getting Givens to pop up.
The Tigers would get doubles by Jordan Rehl in the sixth and Kelly Troglin in the seventh, but were unable to take advantage of the runners in scoring position. In the eighth, Walker walked with one out to bring up Alford. Two pitches later, Alford attempted a bunt, but Crow sprung out from behind the plate and made a diving catch on the little pop-up to record the second out and hold the speedy Walker at first.
Devin Amar would deliver a hard line drive single into left a batter later moving Walker to second to once again threaten the Gamecocks. Rehl came to the plate and put a charge into a 1-0 pitch that Krystal Ruth was tracked down on the warning track down the left field line to send the game scoreless to the ninth.
Jacksonville State took advantage of a Tiger throwing error giving them a runner on second with no outs to start the ninth. After a sacrifice bunt and a walk, Hayden Crawford dropped a ball into centerfield to bring home pinch runner Savanna Hennings for a 1-0 lead. Tyris Branford would pick up an RBI on a ground out to second to push home Savannah Sloan to produce the final score of 2-0.
Givens finished 2-for-4 on the afternoon, with Rehl and Troglin going 1-for-4 with doubles. Gutierrez was 1-for-2 and Amar 1-for-3.
TSU travels to Richmond, Ky., for a three game series against Eastern Kentucky. The first game of Saturday's double header is set for 1:00 p.m. ET. The two teams will complete the series with a single game on Sunday.