NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee State got off to a rough start to begin Ohio Valley Conference play with a pair of losses to visiting Eastern Kentucky on Friday afternoon at Tiger Field. TSU dropped game one in seven innings, 11-3, and lost 11-0 in a five inning affair in game two.
Eastern Kentucky tallied 30 hits on the day to improve to 17-6, 2-0 in conference play. The Tigers were held to ten hits over the two games as they dropped to 7-19, 0-2 in the OVC.
Danica Gleason led the way at the plate going 3-for-4 on the day. Laure Dreitlein was the only other Tiger to record multiple hits, finishing 2-for-5 with a double.
EKU opened game one with a double by Krislyn Campos which led to the first run of the game, as she crossed home plate on a Sarah Fobbs ground out.
The Tigers wasted no time in answering as Courtney Gearlds led off with a single to center in the bottom of the frame. The junior would advance into scoring position as Lindsey Burgess was hit by a Hayley Flynn pitch. Dreitlein came up with a clutch two-out hit through the left side of the infield to plate Gearlds to even the score at 1-1.
The Colonels would benefit from five Tiger miscues and five hits to score three runs in the second and two in the third off starter Lauren Woodard. The junior college transfer surrendered six runs, with just one earned, as she was tagged with the loss falling to 2-10.
EKU would add another run in the fourth to take a commanding 7-1 lead. But Dreitlein tried to get the Tiger offense rolling with a double to left in the bottom of the fourth. The designated player advanced 60-feet to third on an infield single by Gleason, setting up TSU’s second run of the game.
The duo attempted to pull off a double steal, but the Colonels defense seemed up to the task as they caught Dreitlein in a run-down. The Knoxville, Tenn. native made it home safely with the assistance of a dropped ball by the Colonels. The Tigers would leave Gleason stranded to end the fourth, trailing 7-2.
EKU continued its relentless attack with a run in the sixth and three more in the seventh. Down 11-2, TSU attempted to start a rally with a double by Carionna Hassell and Gleason’s second hit of the game to start the final stanza. The Tigers would push a run across on a ground out by Whitney Ennis to chase home pinch runner Rea Sylvester.
Flynn improved to 11-3, holding the Tigers to six hits while fanning eight batters.
The Colonels picked up where they left from the opener scoring through four of the five innings. Paige Murphy paced the Colonels with three hits in four at bats, while Johnkyria Alston was a perfect 3-for-3.
The Tigers were stymied in the night cap as Alex Sallberg held them scoreless for three innings, allowing three hits and a walk. Sallberg improved to 5-2 on the season.
Peyton Hutchens tossed the final two innings, surrendering one hit and a walk, with one strikeout.
Early on, the Tigers battled with a pair of runners on in each of the first two innings.
TSU was unable to make good on an Abi Stephens walk and a Burgess single in the first. Nor could they continue the rally of back-to-back two-out singles from Gleason and Kacey Cox in the second.
In their final at bat, TSU tried to start another two-out rally as Emma Colegrove stroked a line drive single to center in her only at bat of the day. The freshman was followed by a gutsy 13 pitch battle by Gearlds, who earned a walk before the final out of the game was recorded.
Erica O’Kane (2-3) suffered the loss, giving up three earned runs on four hits and a walk in two innings of work.
Lauren Powell worked the final three innings of relief and was touched for eight runs, six earned, on 10 hits and a walk. The freshman was able to fan one batter during her time in the circle.
The Tigers and Colonels will close out the series with a single game on Saturday at 12:00 p.m.