NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Joselynn Yates delivered a game-ending two-run double to pace Tennessee State to a split with Murray State on Saturday afternoon at Tiger Field. TSU dropped game one to the Racers, 7-2, just ahead of the Yates heroics which propelled the Big Blue to a 5-4 win, helping snap a 16-game losing streak.
Yates completed a perfect game at the plate, going 4-for-4, in the bottom of the seventh with a drive to the fence in right center, chasing home Danica Gleason from second and Lindsey Burgess from first. Gleason started the rally with a one-out single to left and moved 60 feet as Burgess was hit by a pitch. It was the 11th time Burgess has been plunked this season and the 32nd time of her career.
The Racers wasted no time taking an early 2-0 lead before the Tigers could have a chance on offense. TSU answered the call as they fired back in the bottom half of the opening stanza. Burgess started the two-out threat with a single through the right side and moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Yates followed with a single into center moving Burgess to third. On the play, the Racers centerfielder mishandled the ball allowing Burgess, who had stopped, to scamper home to cut the lead to 2-1.
MSU kept the pressure on with a run in the fourth and fifth innings off starter Lauren Powell. But the Tigers had their pitchers back as the responded with runs of their own in each inning.
The bottom of the fourth began with a Burgess walk and a Yates single. The two advanced on a fielding miscue off the bat of Kim Trice to load the bases for Abi Stephens. The freshman responded with the second hit of her 3-for-3 performance, plating Burgess, making the score 3-2.
In the fifth, Maddi Clark notched the second of her two hits and advanced to second on a wild pitch and to third on a Courtney Gearlds ground out. Gleason followed with a ground out to short, allowing Clark to break on the throw. The Racers attempted to cut down Clark at the plate, but the freshman avoided enough of the tag to bring the Tigers back to within one at 4-3.
Powell benefitted by the late inning rally to improve to 4-9. The freshman hurler scattered four runs, two earned, on 11 hits and a walk, while fanning just one Racer.
In the night cap, Burgess reached in all four plate appearances, collecting two hits, a walk and a hit by pitch.
Murray State jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning of game one and would retire the first two batters of the TSU third. But the Tigers would make a Racer defensive error hurt as Burgess ripped a triple down the right field line to bring home Gleason, the recipient of the MSU miscue. The run evened the score at 1-1.
The tie only lasted for a few minutes as MSU scored in its next at bat to move ahead 2-1. The Racers would blow the game open with five runs in the sixth, creating a 7-1 advantage.
In the Tiger half of the sixth, Gleason would reach on another error and Burgess walked to create a threat for the Big Blue. But a fielder’s choice and a pick off would help the Racers eliminate part of the Tigers attack. TSU did pick up a run as Stephens scored from second on the first double of the day by Yates, which produced the 7-2 final score.
Lauren Woodard tossed 5.1 innings and was touched for seven runs, three earned, as the Tigers were charged with four errors. Woodard offered up 12 hits and struck out one as she suffered the loss and moved to 2-17.
Erica O’Kane closed out the game in a relief role, holding the Racers to a hit and a walk in 1.2 innings of work.
Yates earned two hits in the opener and was joined in the hit column by Gearlds, Burgess, and Kim Trice.
TSU improved to 8-31, 1-11 in the OVC, while Murray State fell to 15-20, 5-7 in conference play.
The Tigers will travel to Clarksville on Sunday to face Austin Peay in a double header. First pitch is scheduled for 12:00 p.m.