Jaden Hamm: Shutout Supremacy
By: Dylan Simmons
MTN Sports Reporter
On March 10th 2023, men and women from across middle Tennessee laid witness to a performance worthy of legend. At Reese Smith Jr. Field one athlete would have the greatest single pitching performance in nearly half a century. Middle Tennessee vs. Evansville may have seemed like an ordinary baseball game on paper, but it soon became an avenue for greatness.
Jaden Hamm has been the ace pitcher for the Blue Raiders all year, and can always be relied upon for a spectacular performance. Whether it is against foes such as Southeast Missouri State or St. Bonaventure, Hamm always leaves his mark on any game he is in. However, Evansville is not any ordinary opponent. The Purple Aces have had an up and down year but have been especially competitive in games with goliath opponents. Just two days before coming to Murfreesboro, Evansville played against the #7 Vanderbilt Commodores. In that game, they took Vanderbilt to their limits as they were pushed all the way to the 17th inning before finally defeating the Aces. Evansville certainly seemed prime to follow up on that success in Murfreesboro.
The game began as many others do, until J.T. Mabry and Brett Coker put Middle Tennessee on the board early with a single in the bottom of the 1st Inning. Hamm’s pitching was on point early, but his contemporary on the mound was not going to be so easily outdone. Nick Smith is a pitcher who has had his share of ups and downs this year, but on this day he was dialed in as well as any other game in the season. Despite the early score from his opponent, Smith was not about to let this game get away so easily.
As the game moved forward, it became a staring contest between two teams that refused to blink. Both pitchers were superb but Hamm was playing on another plane. He kept putting strikes into gloves with precision that would make Annie Oakley envious. One strikeout turned into two then three and in time Hamm would be nigh automatic from the mound. Smith responded in similar measure but would blink in the 6th inning by giving up another run to his kryptonite duo of JT Mabry and Brett Coker. The score would become 2-0.
Hamm’s pitching was helped along by a tremendous infield which managed two double plays in the game to keep Evansville from scoring position. This helped catapult what could have been a great pitching performance to one of transcendence. It had become clear that he would fight until the bitter end to get his team a victory. When Hamm delivered the final pitch of the game, he received an ovation from the crowd and was swarmed by his team. A final image fitting of a performance that will never be forgotten.
The final stat total for Hamm would read 11 strikeouts with just 1 hit given up in a complete-game shutout. Hamm’s single hit performance would be the first one for MTSU since 1976. Head Coach Jerry Myers said of his game that, “He set the tone and did more than that.” Jaden Hamm himself stated that “It’s one for the books for sure.” He also credited his defense and how they backed him up throughout the contest.
It is safe to say that this game will not soon be forgotten and the legend of Jaden Hamm will only continue to grow with performances such as this one. For those who witnessed this game, they can truly say that they witnessed shutout supremacy.