Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Softball: Jennings wins 12th game in 3-2 victory over Austin Peay


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Photo by David Chamberlain / MTSU Sidelines

The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (25-12) returned home to Murfreesboro to take on the Austin Peay Governors (20-10) in a Monday night showdown. In a game that was scoreless until the fifth, the Blue Raiders overcame a 2-0 deficit and defeated the Governors by a score of 3-2.

Senior Cori Jennings got the start in the circle, and continued her dominant season by pitching seven innings of two-run (one earned) ball with seven strikeouts and only one walk. Even with the great showing, the Blue Raiders found themselves down 2-0 heading into the bottom of the sixth.

This is where Middle Tennessee’s rally began. After Precious Birdsong and Morgan Harris reached base, Lexi Cushing and Kristin Uselton followed with back-to-back singles to tie the game at 2-2. Brooke McClure checked in as pinch-runner for Uselton, and promptly stole second. On the throw, Harris scampered home and took the lead for the Blue Raiders at 3-2.

Jennings continued to lock down the Governors in the seventh, and Middle Tennessee closed the game out for the 3-2 win.

Jennings dominates once again in victory

Jennings earned her 12th win of the season in the complete game effort, and continued her excellent senior season at MTSU.

Her record now stands out 12-6, while her ERA was lowered to 1.92. While she’s been spectacular in her last two seasons, Jennings has remained focused on just doing her job and letting the defense behind her go to work.

“I just have to keep doing what I’m doing, I knew my defense would be (solid) behind me,” Jennings said. “(As a team), we’ve got to keep doing what we are doing.”

While her defense may pick her up, the man in charge believes that the team has leaned on its ace for a majority of the season.

“It’s something we are doing day in and day out,” said Head Coach Jeff Breeden. “We’re leaning on her pretty heavily … we’ve got confidence that she’s going to be able to close the deal at any point.”

Blue Raiders rally in sixth, win another close game

With the home squad down 2-0 late, the Blue Raiders were forced to dig deep and do what they’ve done so many times before: rally and win a close game.

With this game, Middle Tennessee’s last four games have all been decided by a single run. While the scoreboard wasn’t in their favor, the team knew that they were right in the thick of the game.

“I thought we had some fight in us for sure,” Breeden said. “We got a few key hits at the end, and were lucky enough to score three runs to win.”

With his team trailing, his message to the team was relatively simple.

“Do what we do,” Breeden said of his words to the team. “We’ve been in this situation, being down doesn’t bother us. More often than not, we end up scoring and winning the game.”

What’s next?

The Blue Raiders will be back in action on Wednesday when they host the UT-Martin Skyhawks at 4 p.m.

To contact Sports Editor Rusty Ellis, email sports@mtsusidelines.com.

For more sports stories, follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter and Periscope at @Sidelines_Sport.

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