EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. --- Strong pitching performances from starters Lauren Powell and Lauren Woodard were not enough for Tennessee State as they dropped both ends of an Ohio Valley Conference doubleheader at SIUE on Friday. The Tigers ran into a dynamic duo in the circle for the Cougars, falling 2-0 and 1-0 in nine innings.
Each game proved to be an old fashion pitching duel as SIUE’s Haley Chambers-Book out battled Powell in the opener. Chambers-Book struck out 18 Tigers on her way to a no-hitter, while improving to 12-4 on the season. The Tigers prevented a perfect game by the Cougar with walks to Sarah Snell and Courtney Gearlds.
Snell stymied the bid by the SIUE pitcher earning a leadoff walk in the top of the fifth inning. The base on balls stopped a string of 12 consecutive outs for TSU. Snell would go on to steal her sixth base of the season, but was stranded at second base as Chambers-Book retired the side.
Powell was impressive as well, holding SIUE (24-5) to four hits, a walk and a hit by pitch. The Cougars got to Powell in the third as they turned a hit by pitch and a walk into a scoring opportunity after a pair of stolen bases.
With runners on second and third, SIUE opened the scoring on a wild pitch to take a 1-0 lead. On the next pitch the Cougars attempted a squeeze play, which Selena Crafton initially thwarted catching a pop up off the bunt. On the play, the freshman third baseman wheeled and tried to double-off the runner on third. SIUE extended its lead to 2-0 as the runner was able to tag up and score on an errant throw.
Powell suffered the loss and fell to 4-6 as she surrendered two runs, one earned. The sophomore has found success of late, holding opponents to a .135 batting average and posting a 0.67 ERA over her last four appearances.
Trailing 2-0 in the seventh, Gearlds opened with a walk as the Tigers tried one final attempt at Chambers-Book. The senior from SIUE was up to the task as she fanned the final three TSU batters.
In game two, Gearlds reached base as she was hit by a pitch for the seventh time this season, 36th time in her career, and proceeded to swipe her 12th base of her senior campaign. The Tigers would strand Gearlds at second, which marked the only time TSU would have a runner reach second until the ninth inning.
Freshman pitcher Emily Ingles had similar success in the circle for SIUE as she held the Tigers hitless for the first four innings. Emma Colegrove would register the first hit of the day for the Tigers as she opened the fifth with a ball that fell safely away from a diving SIUE defender.
Ingles would answer the call against the Tiger threat, as she did in the sixth after a Gearlds two-out single, as well as in the seventh after a leadoff single by Snell.
TSU’s best chance came in the top of the ninth as Danica Gleason singled up the middle with one out and moved to second on a two-out walk to Erica O’Kane. Ingles ended the challenge by the Tigers sitting done Colegrove.
Woodard and the defense kept the Tigers in the ballgame keeping the Cougars at bay through eight innings. SIUE picked up its lone extra base hit off the TSU pitching staff with a double with two outs in the first inning. Woodard, would equal the feat of her counterpart by getting out of an early jam and not allowing a base runner to reach second base until the ninth inning.
Woodard allowed a hit in the second, but the defense stepped with a double play to retire the Cougars. Megan Huppee knocked down a ball at first and was able to step on first and fire to second base where Gleason applied the tag on the incoming runner.
The twin killing would start a streak where the senior hurler would retire 18 consecutive batters. The run continued into the eighth inning when she surrendered a two single.
In the bottom of the ninth, the defense tried to produce another inning as Gleason stole a base hit away from the Cougars to open the inning. The senior shortstop went into the hole and backhanded a hart hit ball, planted and fired a strike to Huppee, who stretched at the end to retire the first batter of the frame.
SIUE used a hit and a stolen base with one out to create a scoring opportunity. Once again, the Tigers stepped up as Snell ranged into foul territory from her second base position to chase down a fly ball and prevented the Cougar runner to advance sixty feet.
Despite the valiant effort by the Tigers, Zoe Schafer would deliver a shot into right center to plate Alyssa Heren for the game ending run.
Ingles improved to 8-1, scattering four hits, a walk and two hit batters, while striking out 16 batters.
Woodard moved to 1-4 after being tagged for one run on five hits. Woodard continued her solid pitching and has held opponents to a .190 batting average and has a 0.89 ERA in her last two outings.
Defensively on the day, Snell recorded 12 assists and four putouts at second base. In the nightcap, Gearlds set a personal best with 10 putouts in centerfield.
The Tigers fell to 8-17, 0-2 in OVC play, and will continue their road trip with a twin bill in Charleston, Ill. on Sunday. The Tigers square off with Eastern Illinois beginning at 1:00 p.m. CT.