Thursday, March 30, 2023

Softball: Blue Raiders swept by Panthers in doubleheader


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Photo by David Chamberlain / MTSU Sidelines

Story by Teylor Hines / Sports Reporter

The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders traveled to Miami, Florida this weekend to take on the Florida International Panthers in a three-game set. In a doubleheader on Saturday, the Raiders lost by scores of 4-3 and 7-2 in the first two games of the series.

Late error costs Middle Tennessee in game one

MTSU got out to a quick lead on FIU in the first inning. Claire Smith hit a two-run single to score Summer Burgess and Precious Birdsong, and gave the Blue Raiders a 2-0 lead.

The Panthers scored in the bottom half of the first to answer, however. Jackie Schoff got on base with a bunt, and scored a few batters later to cut the lead in half.

Morgan Harris and Kristin Uselton added another run for MTSU in the third inning. Harris started the inning with a line drive to left, followed by Uselton’s double to the same area. Harris scored on the hit to give Middle a 3-1 lead.

In the bottom of the fourth frame, FIU tied the game up at three apiece before breaking the tie in the sixth inning. FIU’s leadoff batter got on base and stole second. Then, with two outs, Kayla Whitehead put the ball in play, forcing a Blue Raider error. The error allowed the runner on second to score, giving FIU the lead.

When all was said and done, Middle went down in the seventh to fall to the Panthers 4-3.

Panthers fast start secures win early in game two

The Panthers jumped out to an early lead in game two. Julia Gilbert smashed grand slam in the bottom of the first to put FIU up 4-0. The lead would prove to be all the Panthers needed to come away with the victory in game two.

FIU added to the assault to make it 5-0 in the third inning. Two singles and a fielder’s choice allowed Panthers to score and increase the lead.

Middle Tennessee got back in the game with two runs in the top of the fourth. Birdsong got aboard with a walk, followed by Harris’ second home run of the season. That homer over the left field fence cut the Panthers lead to 5-2.

In the fifth inning, the Panthers added one more run. Tatiana Forbes began the frame with a single and came around to score following a double and a ground out to give FIU the 6-2 lead.

FIU extended the lead in the sixth as Schoff hit a triple with a runner on base to make it 7-2 for the Panthers, securing the victory.

What’s next?

The Blue Raiders will finish the series with the Panthers on Sunday, with first pitch set for noon.

To contact Sports Editor Rusty Ellis, email

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