Photo and Story by Devin P. Grimes / MTSU Sidelines
The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (29-17) defeated the Belmont Bruins (22-15) by a score of 9-8 on Wednesday evening in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
The Blue Raiders found themselves down 1-0 early in the first inning after a solo home run from Belmont’s Jess Andree.
The team quickly responded in the bottom half of the inning, putting together four runs on just three hits to regain the lead at 4-1. Summer Burgess reached base on a walk, and was driven in by Morgan Harris‘ double. Danielle Munoz gave her team a bigger lead after she sent a single into the outfield to score Lexi Cushing and Claire Smith.
Meanwhile in the circle, Blue Raider starting pitcher Gretchen Greer regained focus after the second inning, but fell behind against Belmont’s hitters. Overall, she pitched three innings and gave up three runs (two earned) on two hits and three walks. Greer was relieved by Amber Baldwin after Belmont doubled and scored two runs to cut the lead to 5-3.
The Bruins had their best opportunity to retake the lead in the third inning, but great defensive plays by Middle Tennessee kept the road team off the board. Faced with adversity, Baldwin got her team out of the jam and ended the inning with a strikeout as Belmont left the bases loaded.
Munoz hit a solo home run in the bottom half of the inning to extend the lead 6-3, her second consecutive game with a home run.
In the fourth inning, the Blue Raiders continued their slugfest with the help of Cushing. She crushed a ball over the trees in right field for her 11th home run of the season, tying a single-season school record for home runs.
The Bruins would not give up, as they picked up three runs in the fifth inning to cut into the lead to 7-6. With the game in the balance in the seventh inning, the Blue Raiders closed out the Bruins and won the game by a final score of 9-8.
Middle Tennessee will host a three-game series, beginning with a double header against conference opponent Florida Atlantic Owls on Saturday at 2 and 4 p.m.
“Our kids had great energy and we’re going to have that on Saturday and Sunday,” said Head Coach Jeff Breeden.
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