CHARLESTON, Ill. --- Tennessee State dropped both ends of an Ohio Valley Conference double header at Eastern Illinois on Sunday afternoon. The Tigers outhit the Panthers in the opener, but fell 5-3 before falling 9-1 in a five inning contest in the night cap.
In game one, Tennessee State (8-19, 0-4) got off to a fast start with two runs in the top of the first inning. Danica Gleason put TSU on the board with an RBI triple to right, plating Courtney Gearlds who had reached on an infield single and advanced to second with her 13th stolen base of the season.
TSU increased the lead to 2-0 a batter later as Sarah Snell executed the squeeze to perfection, allowing Gleason to cross home plate.
EIU (17-15, 3-1) would even the score in the bottom of the opening frame as they picked up two unearned runs off starter Lauren Powell.
The Tigers once again took the lead in their at bat in the third inning. Kacey Cox opened with a double and moved to third on a bunt single by Selena Crafton. TSU secured its second successful squeeze attempt as Gearlds sacrificed Cox home for a 3-2 lead.
Once again, the Panthers wasted no time responding using a walk and three hits to score three runs for a 5-3 advantage. Powell buckled down after the final EIU run allowing just one runner - a walk – over the next 11 batters.
TSU attempted to cut back into the Panthers lead, putting a runner on in each of the final four innings. The Tigers only true threat came in the sixth inning with runners on the corner with two outs. But EIU pitcher Michelle Rogers was able to entice a ground ball to get out of danger.
Powell fell to 4-7 after allowing five runs, three earned, on six hits and two walks while fanning three. Rogers improved to 9-6 despite surrendering eight hits and three walks, while striking out five.
In game two, the Panthers took advantage of a Tiger error in the second inning and produced four unearned runs off starter Lauren Woodard.
In the top of the third, Cox started a two out rally with the first hit of the game for the Tigers. Crafton followed with a bunt single moving Cox to second before taking third on a throwing error by the Panthers. Two pitches later Cox scored as Crafton was caught in a rundown, cutting the score to 4-1.
EIU continued to put pressure on TSU as they scored five runs in the final two innings off reliever Tori Hart.
Woodard (1-5) suffered the loss tossing three innings, giving up four unearned runs on six hits and a walk. Jessica Wireman (7-9) earned the win surrendering two hits and a walk.
TSU will step out of conference play on Wednesday to host Chattanooga for a single game beginning at 5:00 p.m. at Tiger Field.