MARTIN, Tenn. – A comeback by UT Martin halted the chances for Tennessee State to earn a split with UT Martin in an Ohio Valley Conference double header on Friday afternoon. After dropping game one 6-1, the Tigers looked poised for a win, only to see the Skyhawks charge back for a 8-7 win in game two.
The largest comeback for UTM in a game since 2012 helped earn a sweep and improved their record to 17-13, 2-3 in conference play. The Tigers dropped to 7-23, 0-5 in the OVC, as their skid has reached eight games.
TSU had opportunities in the opener as they had a runner reach base in every inning of the contest, but never had a player reach third until the sixth frame. Lindsey Burgess led off the second to last inning with a single and moved into scoring position on a hit by Lauren Dreitlein, who led TSU with two hits in the game. Two batters later, the Tigers would put a run on the scoreboard as Burgess scored on an Emma Colegrove single.
The run was not enough to stay with the Skyhawks who used a hit and four Tiger errors to plate three runs in the third and added three more in the fifth for the margin of victory.
Lauren Woodard tossed a complete game surrendering six runs, three earned, on six hits and a walk as she suffered the loss to fall to 2-14.
After leaving ten runners on base in game one, the Tigers looked to rectify the situation in game two as they struck for five runs in the top of the second.
The Tigers notched their first run as Dreitlein and Colegrove delivered back-to-back doubles to start the big inning. Colegrove would score all the way from second as Kasey Cox sharply bunted a ball that would make it through the right side of the infield on to the grass in right.
Maddi Clark followed with the first of three hits in the game giving the Tigers two runners on without an out. Two batters later Danica Gleason drove a ball into right center to plate Clark and give TSU a 3-0 advantage.
The Tiger attack continued as it was their turn to use a UTM miscue which allowed Courtney Gearlds to score increasing the lead to 4-0. Gleason scored the fifth run of the inning on a wild pitch as Tennessee State sent ten batters to the plate in the inning.
Clark earned her second hit of the game in the third as she began a two out rally. The freshman swiped second base and scored on a Gearlds single as the Tigers opened up a 6-0 lead.
UTM would get back in the game as they plated four runs in the bottom of the third off starter Erica O’Kane who was lifted in favor of Lauren Powell. The freshman pitcher entered in the fourth and would only last four batters as the Skyhawks moved to within one run of the Tigers.
Woodard entered to retire the final two batters of the inning, maintaining TSU’s 6-5 lead.
The Big Blue loaded the bases in the fifth with singles by Colegrove, Clark and Gearlds and reclaimed a two run lead as pinch runner Randi Marshall scored on an infield single by Gleason.
The action continued in the bottom half of the frame as UT Martin responded with a run of their own and then took the lead an inning later with two runs.
Clark reached base to open the seventh, but the Tigers could not advance on the bases with three consecutive outs at second base on fielder’s choices by the top of the batting order.
For the second consecutive game TSU had a runner reach in every inning as they left 11 runners on base in the nightcap, 21 total on the day.
Woodard (2-14) was tagged with her second loss of the day, as she was credited with three runs, two earned, on four hits and three walks in 2.2 innings of work.
The Tigers will look to get back into the OVC race on Saturday as they travel to Cape Girardeau, Mo. for a twin bill beginning at 1:00 p.m. The games can be heard on tsutigers.com.