Story by Calvin White / Contributing Writer
Danielle Taitt’s first career complete game helped the Blue Raiders rally from a 2-0 deficit and defeat the Charlotte 49ers.
When you don’t score runs at a high rate, wins can be hard to come by. Danielle Taitt gave up just two runs on seven hits while only walking two batters to hold the Charlotte bats at bay.
“I was just trying to get back in the dugout for my offense,” Taitt said. “I was just pitching to try and get some soft contact and let my defense do the work and keep us in it and give us a chance.”
An unlikely hero emerged in Jaya Herring. Herring, who had just six plate appearances heading into the game, tallied two hits in three trips to the plate and also scored the winning run in the fourth inning when she tagged up from third base after a sacrifice fly in foul territory.
“Jaya was huge for us today, both offensively and defensively,” said Middle Tennessee head coach Jeff Breeden. “She made some great plays in right field for us, but her tagging up in the fourth on the sacrifice fly was the winning run, so that was huge.”
Charlotte’s only two runs of the contest came in the top half of the second inning where they tallied three hits, including an RBI double off the bat of Mekayla Frazier.
The Blue Raiders responded in the bottom half of the inning after back-to-back singles from Lani Rodriguez and Herring were followed by a fielder’s choice play at second base from Charlotte. Ava Tepe then knocked a single into shallow right field to plate Herring and cut the 49er lead to 2-1.
Rodriguez led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a double into the left-center gap. Herring followed in Rodriguez’s footsteps with a double of her own, the first of her career, down the left field line to put two Blue Raiders in scoring position with no one out. Pinch-hitter Kaylee Richetto then stepped to the plate and sent a Charlotte pitch back up the middle to score Rodriguez and even the contest at 2-2.
With the go-ahead run standing 60 feet away, Abby Shoulders fouled off a pitch just behind the first base bag to give Herring enough time to race home and score the go-ahead run to give the Blue Raiders a 3-2 lead that would ultimately decide the game.
“It felt great to get my bat going today,” Herring said. “I haven’t been able to play a lot recently and we heard Kevin Byard talk yesterday about not proving everybody else wrong but proving yourself right and I felt like I did that today. I knew I could do it, and I just wanted to get out here and show everybody else that I could too.”