MOREHEAD, Ky. – The Tennessee State softball team fell in both ends of a double header on the final weekend of the 2016 at Morehead State on Saturday. The Tigers grabbed early leads only to see the Eagles bounce back and claim the Ohio Valley Conference matchups, 13-10 and 6-2.
TSU had its winless streak extended to 12 games as they fall to 10-45 on the season and 3-23 in conference play. MSU kept its playoff hopes alive as the moved to 12-12 in the OVC, 25-25 overall.
Each team collected 15 hits in the opener with every starter for both teams garnering a hit, with the exception of one Eagle. The game also featured nine extra base hit; five doubles, a triple and three home runs.
TSU wasted no time getting on the scoreboard as Courtney Gearlds scored from third on a ground out by Danica Gleason. The Tigers added another run in the second on a bunt single by Maddi Clark to plate Abi Stephens, making the score 2-0 in favor of the Tigers.
The Eagles responded in a big way, using a home run, a triple and two doubles to score three in the second off starter Erica O’Kane. MSU continued to pour it on in the third with four runs on five hits, to take a 7-2 lead.
Tennessee State came back in the next half inning, as O’Kane opened with a double down the third base line and scored a batter later as Emma Colegrove delivered a shot down the right field line. Two batters later Colegrove would score as the Eagle defense threw a ball away, trying to throw out Gearlds, who reached on her second hit of the game. The run cut the lead to three at 7-4.
In the sixth inning, the Tigers sent 10 batters to the plate and exploded for six runs on six hits. With the bases loaded, Kasey Cox ripped a shot down the third base line to chase home pinch runner Kierra Ware and Clark to get TSU back within one at 7-6. Two pitches later, Gleason hammered a ball over the leftfield fence to clear the bases and give the Big Blue its first lead since the second inning, 9-7. The dinger was the first for Gleason in a Tiger uniform.
TSU went back-to-back blasts on the very next pitch as Kim Trice just missed the scoreboard as she collected the second home run of her career. The freshman’s solo shot gave Tennessee State a 10-7 lead.
Morehead State retaliated in the bottom of the inning with six runs of their own on six hits, as they sent 12 batters to the dish. The heartbreaking loss was tagged to O’Kane who fell to 2-6.
In game two, TSU loaded the bases in the second innings off a walk to Carion Hassell and singles by Abi Stephens and O’Kane. An Eagle miscue allowed the Tigers to score two for the early 2-0 advantage.
MSU would notch a dinger in the second and one to open the third to tie the game at 2-2. The Eagles would not stop there as they tacked on two more runs for a 4-2 lead after three innings. MSU would add another run in the fourth and an insurance run in the sixth for the 6-2 lead.
The Morehead pitching staff would scatter seven hits on the game to secure the second victory in as many games. Lauren Woodard took the hit and fell to 4-24 for her junior campaign.
Stephens and Gearlds each recorded four hits and two runs on the day. Gearlds, after crossing home plate for the second time today, sits one run shy of tying the TSU single season record for runs in a season.
O’Kane and Cox each racked up three hits, while Colegrove and Gleason snared two apiece.
The Tigers were without the services of seniors Lindsey Burgess, Lauren Dreitlein and Joselynn Yates who stayed in Nashville to participate in their graduation ceremonies. The trio will be available for the Tigers in the final game of the season, slated for 1:00 p.m. ET. The game can be heard live on tsutigers.com.