NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee State women’s softball team split a pair of games on day one of the Tiger Invitational on Saturday afternoon. TSU dropped the opener 11-3 to Loyola, before bouncing back and grabbing game two, 11-2 in six innings over Southern.
In the win, freshman Erica O’Kane experienced her best day as a collegian by going 3-for-3 at the plate and earned her first career win in the circle. O’Kane held Southern to two runs as she struck out for in the complete game performance.
After surrendering two runs in the top of the second inning, the Tigers answered with a pair of runs of their own. With two outs, Abi Stephens ripped a shot off the left field fence to plate O’Kane and Lauren Dreitlein, who both reached on singles.
TSU, who was held to six hits in game one, continued to pepper the Southern pitcher as the added three runs in the third, two in the fourth and closed out the game with four in the sixth.
In the third inning, the Tigers took control of the game as they used an RBI single off the bat of Joselynn Yates and a two-run double by Dreitlein.
In the fourth, Stephens picked up her second extra base hit of the contest, this time sending the ball over the fence in center for her second home run of the season, making the score 6-2. Later in the inning, the Tigers would add another run as Lindsey Burgess drove in Danica Gleason, extending the advantage to five.
Courtney Gearlds led off the sixth inning as she did in the third, with a single followed by a swipe of second base. Gearlds crossed home plate as Yates ripped a hit up the middle making the score 8-2 in favor of TSU.
Dreitlein would come up clutch again after Lindsey Burgess earned her third hit of the game. Dreitlein would match Burgess with a third hit as she ended the game on one swing with a three-run blast over the centerfield fence.
In the first game, the Ramblers scored in its first at bat, only to see the Tigers answer with their first opportunity. Gearlds earned her first of five hits on the day and proceeded to steal second base. Two batters later, Gearlds would score as Yates lifted a ball into left, in which the fielder lost in the sun, resulting in a double.
Loyola would add a run in the second to regain the lead at 2-1. But the Tigers were up to the challenge as they fired back with two runs in the bottom half of the inning. Gearlds picked up an RBI with a double into right center which chased home Maddi Clark, who was on to run for Lauren Woodard who opened the inning with a single.
TSU would take the lead three pitchers later as Gleason drove a single to left, allowing Gearlds to motor home.
Loyola wasted no time regaining the lead with two runs in the third and continued to add on to their lead with five in the fifth and a run in both the sixth and seventh innings.
It would be more than enough for Kennan Dolezal, who pitched the final five innings for the Ramblers allowing just one hit and a walk while fanning three.
The final day of the Invitational begins at 11:30 a.m. with a matchup between Loyola and Southern, followed by the Tigers facing the Ramblers at 2:00 p.m. The final game of the day is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. as TSU faces the Jaguars.
The Tigers wore White Jersey with Blue Pants … Courtney Gearlds stole three bases on the day increasing her career total to 40 … Abi Stephens continues to record extra base hits and has yet to hit a single; the freshman has six hits – four doubles and two home runs … The Tigers collected 16 hits versus Southern, which is the most in a single game this season.
Game Results – Day 1
Game 1: Loyola 11, Tennessee State 3 (7)
Game 2: Tennessee State 11, Southern 2 (6)
Game 3: Loyola 10, Southern 1 (5)