LAFAYETTE, La. – Tennessee State softball began the 2015 season with a pair of loses at the Louisiana Classic in Lafayette on Friday. The Tigers valiant comeback attempt in the opener fell short, 3-2, to Incarnate Word. In the second game, TSU battled Central Arkansas for six innings before the Bears were able to pull away in the final inning gaining a 7-0 victory. The Tigers start the season 0-2, while the two Southland Conference opponents each move to 1-0.
Amber Galyon took the loss in her collegiate debut as she scattered six hits and three walks through seven innings. The freshman pitcher was touched for three runs, one earned, as she fell to 0-1.
A Tiger error extended the first inning allowing IWU to jump ahead on two unearned runs off a sacrifice fly and a home run by Shelbi Swenson. Galyon would keep the Cardinals off the board until the fifth inning. The lead increased to 3-0 as IWU pieced together two infield singles, a walk and a hit-by-pitch to push the lobe earned run across home plate.
Cardinals ace Kristen Hebert went the distance to improve to 1-0. The Tigers put a runner on base in each of the first six innings, with the exception of the sixth. TSU would threaten Hebert and the Cardinals in the bottom half of the seventh as they pulled within one run.
Joselynn Yates led off the inning with her second hit of the game and scored from first on a double to right center off the bat of freshman Cariona Hassell. The Tigers loaded the bases as Kate Morris reached on an error and a single by Tayler Shimizu. With one out, Savannah Womack lifted a ball to right field, allowing Hassell to score and pinch runner, Chelsea Buchanan, to advance to third.
Two pitches later, Shimizu swiped second base putting the tying run 60-feet away and the winning run in scoring position. Transfer Danica Gleason gave TSU a chance to tie the game with a soft-slap towards second, but was called out on a bang-bang play at first.
In game two, Womack took to the circle and kept working herself out of trouble as she stranded eight UCA runners through the first four innings. The Bears took a 1-0 lead in the fifth with a two out triple down the right field line, just out of the reach of a diving Shimizu.
UCA’s hurler, Kaylie Studioso, held the Tigers in check as she retired the first 14 batters she faced. Hassell broke through with a single in the fifth. The game remained 1-0 heading to the bottom of the sixth. Shimizu led off the inning with a single just inside the foul line in right. The senior picked up her second stolen base of the day, giving TSU its first runner in scoring position in game two.
Shimizu moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Gleason, but was caught on the next pitch in a squeeze attempt. Shimizu tried to stay alive between third and home, but was eventually tagged out after the fifth throw of the run down.
UCA took advantage of the moment swing and added six runs in the top of the seventh to pull away from the Tigers. Studioso (1-0) earned the win on a two-hit shutout, while striking out six.
Womack fell to 0-1 in her TSU pitching debut, as she surrendered eight hits and seven walks. The sophomore transfer was able to fan seven Bears.
On the day, Hassell, Yates and Shimizu each gathered two hits apiece, while Courtney Gearlds, Gleason and Morris each notched one. Gearlds and Hassell were the only Tigers to earn extra base hits, both with doubles.
TSU will travel to Baton Rouge to continue play as part of the Tiger Classic. Saturday’s schedule opens with a 10:00am contest with Memphis, followed by a showdown with No. 19 LSU at 3:00 p.m. Both games can be heard on tsutigers.com.