Photo by Tyler Lamb / Sports Editor
Story by Nick Hardin /Staff Writer & Cody Strickler / Staff Writer
The Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders softball team took on the Alabama State Lady Hornets in a double-header on Wednesday afternoon and split the contests, winning the first one
The only thing more beautiful than the Tennessee weather during game one of the back-to-back was the pitching performance from Cori Jennings and the defensive effort she got to back her up. Jennings’ pitches were money from the very start, only allowing four hits while striking out eight opposing batters.
The bats for both teams were held calm however, as the Blue Raiders only tallied up five hits.
Luckily for Middle Tennessee, a little bit of small ball and a perfectly executed squeeze bunt from Austyn Whaley in the bottom of the first inning allowed MT to scrape across two runs which proved to be the difference in a 2-0 Blue Raider win.
Cori Jennings would get the complete game victory improving her record inside the circle to 7-11 on the season.
Final MTSU Stats Game one
— Cody Strickler (@CodyStricklerSL) April 12, 2017
The Blue Raiders started strong in game two with their pitching and hitting, but Alabama State came back to win game two by a score of 6-3.
Junior Gretchen Greer started in the circle for MT and in her first three innings of play, she came out strong by allowing no runs. In the fourth inning, Greer began showing some fatigue and two runs came across the plate for the Lady Hornets.
Greer finished her night after 3.2 innings, allowing two runs off six hits and striking out two batters.
“I think my biggest downfall this season has been my mind, getting in my head,” Greer said. “When one thing goes wrong it’s affecting me mentally…that’s what happened in the fourth inning.”
Pattie Ruth Taylor came in to relieve Greer and allowed two runs off four hits, struck out one in 1.1 innings.
After Sarah Pinkston gave up two more runs, Megan Chocallo came in and pitched the final two inning, allowing no runs off two hits and striking out one.
Hit-to-run ratio for Middle Tennessee against the Lady Hornets was a deciding factor, because the Raiders couldn’t put together enough offense to mount the comeback. The Blue Raiders had three runs on eight hits, while ASU had six runs and 15 hits.
“We didn’t get as many hits as we usually do,” Kirstyn Cuccia said. “It would have helped if we had a few more hits.”
Cuccia went 2-2 in the game against ASUs starting pitcher Charlene Castro, who outperformed her seasonal statistics in the win.
“She [Castro] was a little slower then what we are used to seeing, but I tried to go up there, see the ball, hit it and not worry about it,” Cuccia said.
FINAL MTSU stats for Game two pic.twitter.com/84Fe6VG8ME
— Cody Strickler (@CodyStricklerSL) April 13, 2017
The Blue Raiders will be back in action Friday in a double-header against the Florida Atlantic Owls in Boca Raton, Florida. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.
Follow MTSU Softball beat writers Cody Strickler (@CodyStricklerSL) and Nick Hardin (@nlhardin2) on Twitter for more coverage.
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