The Long Ball Fuels Split on Day Two of Tiger Classic
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee State softball used a pair of long balls to earn a split on day two of the 2014 Tiger Classic. TSU came up short against Western Michigan, 3-2, in the first game of the day and picked up their first win at Tiger Field against Temple, 7-5.
TSU moves to 4-9, while Western Michigan is 5-5 and Temple is 2-2.
In the opener, WMU held a 3-0 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth inning. Jayna Hanawahine picked up a one-out double to centerfield and scored a batter later to make the score 3-1. Kate Morris would beat out a ground ball back to the pitcher and advanced to second as the throw got away, allowing Hanawahine to cross home plate.
Liz Stansberry worked a walk in between outs in the seventh inning to give TSU one last shot at the Broncos. The freshman moved to third on a passed ball and was chased home by a Lindsey Burgess single down the right field line. Courtney Gearlds continued the inning with a double to left-center, giving the Tigers runners on second and third with two outs. Hanawahine followed and lifted a ball to centerfield, but the Broncos were able to make the catch to end TSU’s chance at a comeback victory.
Shea Morris went the distance and fell to 3-4 as she was touched for three runs, two earned, off five hits and a walk. Morris ended the game with five strikeouts.
The nightcap was scheduled to start at 7:00pm, but due to the length of each game of the day, the Tigers and the Temple Owls would have to wait till 9:33pm to throw the first pitch. TSU loaded the bases in the first inning as Hanawahine reached on a fielder’s choice and moved up 60-feet on a single by Burgess and another on a single by Rebekka Gross. The Tigers gained the early 1-0 lead as the Owls were not able to handle a Kate Morris grounder.
The lead was short-lived as Temple picked up an unearned run in the second and two more in the top of the third.
Trailing 3-1, the Tigers fired back as Hanawahine delivered a rocket over the left field fence with Kiarra Freeman on base to tie the game at 3-3. The blast is the third on the season for the sophomore, who matched her total from her rookie campaign.
In the top of the fourth, Temple regained the lead off Tiger starter Olivia Gamache with their fourth unearned run of the game. But once again, the TSU offense fired back and would take the lead for good in the bottom half of the inning.
Stansberry led off with a walk and advanced to second on a ground out by Gearlds. Stansberry moved to third on a Freeman single and scampered home as Temple was not able to handle a hard ground ball off the bat of Hanawahine. A Burgess walk loaded the bases for Kate Morris. The junior delivered with a single up the middle to drive in Hanawahine and Freeman for a 6-4 lead.
Gamache would return to the circle in the fifth with the lead, but was lifted after a walk to the leadoff batter. Gamache left the game on her fourth walk and allowed three hits to the hot hitting Owls, while fanning six in her four innings of work.
Shea Morris would enter in relief and immediately walked the first batter she faced to put the game tying runs on base. Morris settled in and struck out the next two batters and induced a ground ball to get out of the fifth with the two-run lead intact.
The Owls did inch closer in the sixth with a run, but Burgess answered back on the second pitch she saw in the bottom of the sixth with a line drive shot over the centerfield fence. The leadoff home run reestablished a two-run lead for the Tigers.
Morris picked up the three-inning save with five strikeouts and surrendered just two hits. The save was the first of the season and the fourth of her career. Gamache earned the win to improve to 1-4.
Burgess finished the game 3-for-3 with a walk and batted .714 (5-for-7) on the day with a run and two RBI.
TSU will close out the Tiger Classic with a pair of games on Sunday. Dayton and the Tigers are scheduled for a 1:30pm contest, while Indiana State will be the final test for TSU at 3:30pm. Both games can be heard on TSUTigers.com and seen on the OVC Digital Network.
Tiger Classic - Day One – Results
Game 1 - Dayton 3, Temple 2
Game 2 – Western Michigan 14, Dayton 2
Game 3 - Temple 11, Western Michigan 3 (5)
Game 4 – Youngstown State 1, Tennessee State 0
Tiger Classic – Day Two – Results
Game 5 – Indiana State 5, Youngstown State 4
Game 6 – Dayton 9, Youngstown State 3
Game 7 – Western Michigan 3, Tennessee State 2
Game 8 – Indiana State 7, Dayton 3
Game 9 – Temple 8, Western Michigan 4
Game 10 – Tennessee State 7, Temple 5