In game one Tuesday at Draper Diamond, the Lady Bisons fell 6-5 and then won the nightcap 9-1 in a non-conference game between the two Nashville-based teams. The second game win was the 30th for the Lady Bisons, the first time they have reached 30 victories in a season in the NCAA era.
The Lady Bisons play in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Tennessee State participates in the Ohio Valley Conference.
“We just didn’t look sharp in game one,” said Lady Bisons coach Kristin Peck. “We didn’t come out ready to go.
“Tennessee State has split with some good teams this year. If you are not ready to go against them they are going to take advantage of that. And they did.”
In game one they combined for 19 hits with the Lady Bisons holding an 11-8 edge. Courtney Billington, Abby Keese, Caroline Mason and Mackenzie Tucker each had doubles in game one. Tennessee State countered with a double from Jalisa Bradley and home runs from Caitlin Eaton, Royesha Goodman and Melanie Cruz.
The Lady Bisons jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning in game one. But Tennessee State came back to tie the game at 2-2 in the fourth inning. The Lady Tigers added four more runs in the sixth.
In the seventh the Lady Bisons bounced back with three runs. Lauren Dortwegt led off with a single and moved to second in a throwing error by the left fielder. Billington singled to third base. Kellie Sirus then singled toleft field to bring in Dortwegt. Keese doubled to right center to bring home Billington and Sirus, but the rally fell short.
Whitney Kiihnl, 13-6, pitched five innings for the Lady Bisons. She gave up six hits and four runs, all earned. She struck out four and walked two. Alaina Jacobson pitched the final two innings. She gave up two hits and two runs, both earned. She walked one and struck out two.
“It definitely wasn’t Whitney’s best day,” said Peck. “She wasn’t getting ahead of batters. That hurts her when she doesn’t do that. Tennessee State has some good hitters and they crushed a few balls against us.”
In game two the Lady Bisons kept their bats going, scoring two runs in the first inning and five in the third. They added runs in the fifth and sixth. Tennessee State’s only run of the game was scored in the fourth inning when Cruz hit her second home run of the day, this time to left center.
The Lady Bisons once again collected 11 hits. Tennessee State was held to six by starter Christen Campbell.
Campbell pitched all six innings. She walked one and struck out three to raise her record to 9-0.
“Campbell came back and threw a good game in game two,” said Peck. “We gave her plenty of run support early on. It was good to see us bounce back and do that.”
Sirus and Keese each had doubles for the Lady Bisons. A solo home run to center field by Sirus to open the sixth inning ended the game due to the mercy rule.
Dortwegt was credited with a game-leading three hits in game two. She had one in game one. Keese added three hits and drove in three runs. Campbell and Tucker also had three hits.
The Lady Bisons continue at Draper Diamond this weekend. They play Mercer starting at 4 p.m. Saturday in the A-Sun “Series of the Week”. The Lady Bisons will face Kennesaw State Saturday at 3 in a doubleheader.
The Lady Bisons are 30-9. Tennessee State is 17-22.