Blue Raiders take 3-of-4 against Thundering Herd in weekend series
By Daniel Johnson MTN Sports Reporter April 12, 2021
MURFREESBORO, TN—After dropping the front end of a double-header on Friday to kickoff the weekend series, the Blue Raider softball team leaned heavily on their offense in the three remaining games against Marshall.
Marshall came out hot in the first game, scoring five of their ten runs in the top of the first inning. A rally started by senior Ryan King and junior Kelci Hill brought Middle Tennessee within two, but the Blue Raiders seemingly played catch up during the rest of the game, falling 10-4.
In the 2nd game of the double-header, the Blue Raiders played their longest game of the season, topping the Thundering Herd 9-8 in extra innings. The game lasted three hours and three minutes.
“I’m proud of our kids and how they came back”, said Middle Tennessee head coach Jeff Breeden. “We dig ourselves a hole, but we came back from it four, five times today.”
After splitting the first two games on day one with Marshall, the Blue Raiders took control of the series on Saturday in game three. Jocelyn De La Cruz’s double in the bottom of the first inning kicked off the scoring for the Blue Raiders, bringing in Summer Burgess. De La Cruz hit her first home run of the season in the second inning, stretching the Blue Raiders’ lead to 8-0.
Hill’s single in the third inning brought Summer Burgess home, scoring Middle Tennessee’s final run of the day. The Blue Raiders defeated Marshall 9-5 to take a commanding 2-1 series lead heading into the finale on Sunday. Multiple Blue Raiders’ posted new season highs on Saturday afternoon.
De La Cruz had a new season high in RBI’s with four, Burgess scored three runs, a new season high and tying her career high. Kailey Ahlstrom’s four strikeouts also tied her season high.
“I think it was a really big day for everybody, and that gives everybody even more confidence”, said De La Cruz. “Today, I just wanted to relax, and I just wanted to help my team win.”
The Blue Raiders’ strong hitting carried over into Sunday, as six different Blue Raiders had a multi-hit game. Middle Tennessee defeated Marshall 6-2 to win the series 3-1.
“I’m so proud of them”, said Breeden. “Every kid we have on our team, they played their guts out in the dugout this weekend.”
With Sunday’s victory, the Blue Raiders are back above .500 (18-17), (4-4). They will be home Friday for the start of another four game home series with Western Kentucky.