Normal, Ala. – It took over three hours before Tennessee State claimed a win over Alabama A&M on a frigid Friday afternoon. The Tigers and Bulldogs went back and forth all afternoon, before Lauren Dreitlein hit a two-run home run in the top of the seventh to propel TSU to a 13-11 win.
The Tigers improved to 2-4 as they handed the Bulldogs (6-1) its first loss of the season. Game two was called after two innings of play, with AAMU leading 1-0, due to darkness. It has yet to be determined if the game will resume on another date.
Dreitlein, playing in her first game as a Tiger, earned her first career hit in a heroic fashion. With a runner on second and two outs, the junior drove a 0-2 pitch over the centerfield fence to break an 11-11 tie. The blast was one pitch after Dreitlein hammered a ball over the fence in foul territory down the left field line. The lead helped the transfers’ junior college teammate, Taylor Green; earn her second consecutive win in TSU blue.
The Tigers used 11 hits and eight walks on its way to scoring a season high 13 runs. The first seven batters in the lineup record hits, as four Tigers collected multiple hits during game one. Lindsey Burgess drove in four runs on the day with a double and a home run, while Kailey Richard pushed across three runs and Tayler Shimizu drove in two more.
The Tigers opened the scoring in the first as Joselynn Yates tripled to right center to chase home pinch runner Liz Stansberry for the early 1-0 lead. A&M responded in the bottom of the inning with four runs off Green.
TSU cut the lead in half in its next at bat as Shimizu doubled to left, plating Burgess who scored from first. The Bulldogs wasted no time striking back as Tiana Sanders picked up two of her six RBI on a home run to extend the lead to 6-2 after two innings of play.
Junior transfer Jasmine Matchen entered in relief of Green in the second and held AAMU scoreless over the next two-plus innings, allowing the Tigers to regain the lead. TSU picked up three runs in the fourth as Richard drove in two on a single through the right side of the infield; after Shimizu scored on an over throw off a Gearlds single.
In the fifth, Yates opened the inning with a double and scored two batters later on a Burgess double to even the score at 6-6. The Tigers took the lead a batter later as Burgess scored on a single up the middle by Shimizu. The lead would be short lived as the Bulldogs finally got to Matchen scoring three runs to take a 9-7 lead.
Amber Glayon entered in the fifth to record the final two outs. TSU would put the freshman in line for her first win with three runs in the top of the sixth. With two outs and runners on the corners, Burgess powered a line drive over the fence in left center for her first home run of the season and the eighth of her career. Once again, the Bulldogs responded in the bottom of the inning with two runs off Green who reentered in a save situation.
With the Tigers trailing 11-10, Savannah Womack and Kate Morris opened the final inning with walks. Womack stole second and advanced to third as the ball-four pitch to Morris got away from the catcher. Richard picked up her third RBI of the day on a sacrifice fly to right to tie the game at 11-11 and setting up the opportunity for Dreitlein.
TSU will return home for the home opener on Friday, Feb. 13 as they host the Tiger Classic. The three day event will play host to five teams and will feature the Tigers six times during the 15-game event. Information on the Classic will be available on tsutigers.com.