NASHVILLE --- A pair of late inning surges sank Tennessee State on Saturday afternoon at Tiger Field. The University of Evansville used runs in the sixth and seventh innings in both ends of a doubleheader to secure wins over the Tigers, 8-1 and 9-4. The losses dropped TSU to 4-9 while the Purple Aces improved to 4-5.
In the opener, Lauren Powell produced one of her best performances of her career. The sophomore worked the first four innings without allowing a hit. The lone runner the hurler allowed was a one-out walk in the second to opposing pitcher Morgan Florey.
Florey stepped into the box to start the fifth inning and drove a ball into leftfield to produce the first of the game against Powell. TSU would strand the Evansville runner on third base and held a 1-0 lead heading into the final two innings.
Powell started the sixth inning retiring the first batter, the eighth of her career high 10 strikeouts. The total is the highest amount for a Tiger since Feb. 8, 2014 - Shea Morris (10) versus Lipscomb. Powell surrendered back-to-back walks before a single loaded the bases. The Purple Aces Morgan Lambert made the Tigers pay with a shot with a grand slam, taking a 4-1 lead.
Evansville tacked on four more runs in the seventh as the touched relief pitchers Erica O’Kane and Amanda Cabrera for two runs apiece. Powell (1-3) returned to retire the side finishing with seven innings of work.
Patton Akers led the Tigers going 2-for-3; including the first hit of the contest with a one-out double in the second. Megan Huppee followed with a bunt single to move Akers to third. The freshman would score a batter later as Chelsea Buchanan secured the squeeze bunt, giving TSU an early 1-0 lead.
In the nightcap, Evansville used 14 hits and 10 Tiger miscues to lock up a 9-4 victory. Despite allowing 14 base runners to the Purple Aces through the first five innings, the Tigers trailed 4-0. TSU charged back in the bottom half of the fifth with four runs of their own to tie the game 4-4.
Reese Weber delivered a pinch hit double allowing pinch runner Kierra Ware to score from first base. Courtney Gearlds and Selena Crafton to load the base before Patton Akers walked to push Weber home to cut the lead to 4-2. Gearlds would bring the Tigers within one as she crossed home plate on a wild pitch.
TSU evened the score as Crafton and Akers pulled off a double steal with Crafton beating the throw home.
The Purple Aces responded with three runs in the sixth off start Tori Hart (3-3) and two against reliever Lauren Woodard to produce the winning margin.
The Tigers will embark on a 12-game road trip beginning with a trip to Memphis to take part in the Blues City Classic. TSU will open play on Friday, Mar. 3 against Louisiana Tech.