Photo by David Chamberlain / MTSU Sidelines
Story by Teylor Hines / Sports Reporter
The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (23-12, 5-6) fell short to the University of Alabama-Birmingham Blazers (13-21-1, 5-2-1) in both sides of its doubleheader in Birmingham, Alabama on Friday. Both outings were decided by one run each. as the Blazers picked up a 3-2 win in game one, and 1-0 win in game two over Middle Tennessee.
UAB’s early scores hold Middle Tennessee down in game 1
Middle Tennessee quickly got on the board in the first inning. Senior Precious Birdsong reached base with a bunt single, and scored on Morgan Harris‘ double into left field. This was Harris’ sixth double of the season, and it put the Blue Raiders up 1-0.
The lead didn’t last long, as UAB tied the game up in the bottom of the first inning. Natalie Erwin hit a double of her own to right-centerfield, and scored on a Blue Raider error.
In the bottom of the third inning, the Blazers drove in two runs. A single and a walk put two on base with no outs for the home team, and Rachel Rogers and Sarah Crawford hit back-to-back singles to run the score to 3-1 in UAB’s favor.
The Blue Raiders had the bases loaded at the top of the fifth with no outs and a chance to tie the game. The Blazers made the plays at the plate to keep MT off of the scoreboard however, sending the game to the late innings with Middle facing a two-run deficit.
In need of a comeback, junior Kristyn Cuccia started off the seventh inning with a solo home run over the right-centerfield fence to cut the lead in half. The one run would be all the Blue Raiders could add however, as they fell in game one by a score of 3-2 to the Blazers.
Blazers shut out Blue Raiders in game 2
The second game of the doubleheader saw a lot of offensive struggles, as there was a total of only eight hits before the game went into extra innings.
In the seven innings of regulation, both teams had chances to get on the board and take the lead. Sophomore Summer Burgess had two singles, one in the first and another in the fourth, but she was left on base each time.
In the last inning of regulation, UAB was in position to score the game-winning runs as they loaded the bases. MT worked to get two outs, and a fielder’s choice collected by freshman Claire Smith forced the game into extra innings.
UAB started their extra innings by loading the bases once again with a single to right-center, an MTSU error and a single to left with only one out. Molli Garcia then hit a single to centerfield to give UAB the 1-0 win and a sweep of Middle in the doubleheader.
The Blue Raiders will move on to the finale of this three-game set on Saturday, and the game is slated to start at 1 p.m.
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