Tigers Win Final Game of Season, Split With Belmont
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee State dropped the first game of a twin bill on the final day of the season, before closing out 2014 with a win over Belmont. The Bruins grabbed game one of the Ohio Valley Conference contest 5-2, while the Tigers ended on a positive note with a 5-3 victory at Rose Park on Sunday afternoon.
TSU finished the season at 18-38, 6-20 in conference play. The 18 wins for the Tigers matches the 2009 season for the third best total in program history.
Belmont ended the year at 13-36, 7-19 in the OVC.
Kate Morris led the Tigers on Sunday driving in five runners with three hits. Morris finished the year with a team high 30 RBI, which tied the 2009 total by Caitlin Eaton, and is the second highest amount in a single season in TSU history.
Courtney Gearlds reached base five times on three hits, a base on balls and on a hit-by-pitch. The outfielder led the Tigers in scoring, as she touched home three times.
Jayna Hanawahine picked up two hits, both extra base hits. The sophomore tripled and scored in game one and doubled in the night cap. Kiarra Freeman registered two hits driving in one and scoring once.
The Tigers opened the scoring with a run in the second inning. Hanawahine notched her first triple of the season to set up a sacrifice fly off the bat of Rebekka Gross. TSU took the early 1-0 lead as Hanawahine touched home plate.
The advantage was short lived as Belmont benefited from a Tiger miscue in the bottom half of the inning to even the score at 1-1 off starting pitcher Shea Morris. The Bruins picked up another run in the third off Hannah St. Clair and an unearned run in the fourth against Olivia Gamache.
Down 3-1, Gearlds reached first after being hit by a pitch to open the sixth inning. It was the OVC leading 12th time Gearlds had been beaned. Two batters later, with two outs and Gearlds on third, Kate Morris hit a ball into right center, driving in the first-year outfielder and cutting the BU lead to one.
Belmont added a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth and was able to withstand a TSU threat in the seventh, as the tying run stepped to the plate in the form of Gearlds. The freshman flew out to centerfield to end the game.
St. Clair suffered the loss and completed her rookie campaign at 3-13.
In game two, Belmont started fast as they scored a run in each of the first three innings. The Bruins touched Shea Morris for the run in the first, as well as the second. Olivia Gamache entered in the third and surrendered the final run the Bruins would score in the game.
The Tigers started their comeback with a run in the fourth. Gearlds sparked the offense with an infield single and took second on a throwing error. Kate Morris followed two batters later with a single into left field as she picked up her second RBI of the day.
An inning later, TSU was down to their final out before loading the bases on a pair of BU errors and a Gearlds single. Freeman brought the Tigers to within a run with an RBI single to left, plating Lindsey Burgess.
Kate Morris followed and jumped on the first pitch she saw and drove it to the fence in left center to chase home Liz Stansberry, Gearlds and Freeman to give TSU a 5-3 lead.
Gamache (5-12) would make the score stand as she scattered five hits and two walks to earn the win. The senior pitcher saved the best for last, recording the most wins in a season, lowest ERA (3.20) and most strikeouts (89).
Gamache and Ashley Haynes leave TSU with their names all over the record books. Gamache finished in the Top 10 of seven career categories and six single season records. Haynes listed in seven career marks and two single season.