Photo by Tyler Lamb / Sports Editor
After losing four straight games, the Blue Raiders are struggling to find consistency early in the Conference USA schedule.
Three series into the conference schedule, the pitching has done everything they can to keep MT in games but the offense hasn’t been there as often. The Raiders will need leaders and role players alike, as they prepare to take on the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs in Ruston, Louisiana.
Junior pitcher Cori Jennings has been the model of consistency so far this season, leading the team in wins with five and Earned Run Average with 2.31 clip. After two solid seasons at UT-Chattanooga, Jennings has added to her success with a strong start this season. Of her accomplishments thus far, Jennings has lowered her E.R.A by almost a run, and has held opposing batters to a .239 batting average.
What she’s also done is give the Blue Raiders innings when they need them, throwing 11 complete games in 14 starts.
Even with the added success, Jennings believes that her success is just a continuation of her hard work.
“I don’t think anything has really changed, I think I kind of just kept the same mindset just keep working hard and keep doing what I’m doing.” Jennings said about her transition to Middle Tennessee.
For the team to break their current losing streak, she will need to keep up her efforts and continue to give the team good innings, something she attributes to her command and general trust in the team.
“[I have to] keep pitching the way I’m pitching and keep hitting my spots,” Jennings said. “I also have to trust the defense behind me.”
The offense is struggling more than the pitching, only managing ten hits over the three-game series with FIU. For the Blue Raiders, it all starts with leadoff hitter Precious Birdsong.
Birdsong has shown consistent numbers from her two previous years at MT, and currently holds the top batting average for the team with a .408 clip. She has also led the way in hits with 31, and on base percentage with .477 average.
With the offense in a funk, Birdsong believes that the team needs to do better with runners on base in order to win more games.
“Our clutch hitting, we just [more] need clutch hitting,” Birdsong said. “That’s something that we’ve been working on for quite some time now.”
With tough battles ahead, the energy of the team is key into playing hard and being consistent as they head into the rest of the season.
“I try to motivate the players with my energy, I try to put them on board [with what we are doing],” Birdsong said in regards to her energy driving the team. “Energy leads to success, I try to lead with my energy.”
The Blue Raiders will be back in action on Saturday with a double-header against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs in Ruston, LA; first pitch set for 2 p.m.