NASHVILLE --- Tennessee State softball dropped both games on day one of the Tiger Classic. TSU fell in the opener 11-3 to Iowa State and lost a heartbreaker in the night cap to Alabama A&M, 8-6. The Tigers fell to 3-3 on the season, while ISU improved to 4-3 after a 5-1 over AAMU. The Bulldogs moved to 2-5 on the year.
The Tigers batted .339 as a team and was led by freshmen Patton Akers and Selena Crafton. Akers batted .800 (4-for-5), while Crafton went 5-for-8 with two doubles, a run, a stolen base and three RBI.
Crafton got off to a hot start with doubles in her first two at bats. The first ended with the Dickson, Tenn. native stranded at second base. Trailing 5-0, Crafton dropped her second double just inside the leftfield line and outraced the throw to second. After moving to third on a sacrifice bunt by Courtney Gearlds, Crafton scored as Sarah Snell flew out to centerfield.
Danica Gleason followed y driving a pitch over the fence in left center for her first home run of the season and second in a Tiger uniform. The bomb cut the lead to three at 5-2, before ISU responded with a run in the fourth.
The Tigers moved back to within three in their half of the fourth. Maggie Syversen doubled to right center to open the frame and was lifted in favor of pinch runner Maddison Clark. Two batters later, Akers delivered the second of her four hits on the day with a drive up the middle, allowing Clark to score.
It would be as close as the Tigers would get as the Cyclones added runs in the fifth and sixth, and three in the seventh.
Tori Hart (2-1) suffered her first loss of the season after surrendering seven runs, six earned, on six hits and four walks. Lauren Woodard tossed the final three innings, allowing four runs, one earned, on eight hits.
The Bulldogs kept a steady attack throughout the game scoring in five out of six innings. Trailing 1-0 in the second, Akers put the Tigers on top with a two out single to center to plate Erica O’Kane and Kasey Cox.
The game continued to be a back-and-forth contest as AAMU evened the score at 2-2 heading into the third. Gearlds gave the Tigers the lead in the third, scoring on an errant throw as the Bulldogs were trying to throw the senior out at second base as she earned her second stolen base of the game and seventh of the season.
The Bulldogs surged back ahead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third, only to see the Big Blue tie the game in the fourth as Crafton drove in Megan Huppee on a bases loaded single. The see-saw battle saw Alabama A&M tally two runs in the bottom of the frame making the score 6-4.
Crafton stepped up again with a two-run single, chasing home Cox and Reese Weber to knot the score at 6-6. The Bulldogs ended the Tigers threat as Akers was gunned out at home as she was attempting to score on a fly out by Gearlds.
The tie would not last long as AAMU scored two in the bottom of the sixth to provide the final margin.
TSU outhit the Bulldogs 11-7, with the difference in the game coming in the error column. The Tigers committed seven miscues accounting for seven unearned runs. Lauren Powell fell to 1-1 after working the final 2.1 innings. Powell gave up two runs, none earned, on three hits.
O’Kane surrendered the one run, allowing six, on four hits and two walks in 3.2 innings.
TSU will look to get back on the winning track on day two of the Tiger Classic. The Big Blue will take the field at 1:00 p.m. against Iowa State followed by a rematch with Alabama A&M at 3:30 p.m.