Friday, April 12, 2024

MTSU Softball cruises past Tigers


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Story by Quenterious Mabone / Contributing Writer

Battling through windy conditions, the Blue Raiders defeated Tennessee State 6-2, capping off their nine-game homestand with a win.

Middle Tennessee (15-15, 2-1 C-USA) scored in four out of six innings. Their 1-through-4 hitters combined for 9-of-15 while scoring four runs and earning five RBIs.

Head coach Jeff Breeden was thrilled to see junior outfielder Kelci Hill adjust.

“Kelci [Hill] had been in a little bit of a slump and she’s coming on now,” said Breeden. “Amaya [Harris] is going to do what she does and [Laura] Mealer has settled into her role. Now I’m searching for a nine to try to get the top going again.”

Middle Tennessee struck first in the bottom of the second inning. Sophomore Shelby Sargent singled to left field, allowing senior Lani Rodriguez to score.

Mealer kept the offense going in the bottom of the third, punching a fly ball to center field. The wind faded the ball’s flight path to the right of the flagpole, giving the Lady Raiders a 3-0 lead.

The fourth inning saw the Lady Raiders add on to the lead. Sophomore Amaya Harris and Hill’s single drove in two runs to give Middle Tennessee a 5-0 lead.

Tennessee State added two runs in the top of the fifth to cut the lead down to 5-2. Middle Tennessee got back on the board to grow the lead to 6-2.

Freshman Claire Woods closed the door shut in the seventh inning, allowing no runners, and finishing the game with just nine pitches.

The player who stood out amongst others was Kelci Hill. She tied her single game career-high in RBIs with three on Wednesday.

I’m just grateful that [my bat] finally became hot, because this is when it matters,” Hill said. “I tell Amaya that ‘when you get on, and Laura will get you in, because that’s how we’ve been doing it all season.’

And then Anyce is behind Laura, so even if she doesn’t produce, then Anyce is right there. It’s a scary lineup 1-through-9 to pitch to.”

The Lady Raiders will be traveling to Huntington, W. Va. to take on Marshall in their first road C-USA series of the season.

“I challenged (the pitching staff) a minute ago.” Breeden said of the Thundering Herd. “I told them they hit .333 as a team right now and they hit a bunch of bombs. So it’s going to be on you to keep the ball in the park and let us try to slug around on it and score a few runs.”

The first pitch is scheduled for noon central time.

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