Middle Tennessee falls to Mississippi State 19-14; Two Blue Raiders Record Career Highs
By: Austin Caperton
MTN Sports Reporter
“I’ve not been in one where the wind has done what it did tonight…” Those were the first words Jeff Breeden had to say following his team’s loss at home against Mississippi State Saturday.
What the wind did exactly was pick up to speeds well over 30 MPH, conditions ripe for a high-scoring game, and a high-scoring game was exactly what happened. MTSU and Mississippi State combined for 34 runs on the day and both teams hit multiple home runs in the game.
MTSU scored 14 runs in the loss, the most they have scored this season by a wide margin. Following a series against Marshall where they only combined for three runs in three games, 14 runs in a single game should give the Blue Raiders some momentum going forward.
MTSU opened the game with sophomore Danielle Taitt in the circle, Taitt didn’t last very long as Paige Cook, a junior at Mississippi State, connected on a pitch over the plate to deep centerfield, kicking off the track meet with a three-run home run in the first.
Coach Breeden thought the wind certainly affected the carry on some of Mississippi State’s hits.
“Some of those balls hit I thought were routine outs and they’re… they’re in the parking lot.”
Ava Tepe, the team’s catcher had a unique experience catching in such strange conditions.
“It was very weird like I saw some WEIRD spins, it was crazy but it was fun though.”
Following that, two more home runs gave the Bulldogs a 5-0 lead which signaled the end of the day for Taitt. Keri Munn pitched in relief to close the first and open the second before Claire Woods took over in the third.
After going down 7-0 early, MTSU looked like they might be in for a long night until Ava Tepe, a freshman, opened the door with an RBI single. Tepe recorded her career-high in RBIs with three on the night.
Ava gave credit to her teammates for her success in the game.
“You know I really couldn’t do it without my teammates and the dugout. People got on base before me and I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Claire Woods, who pitched four innings after entering in the third, shut out the Bulldogs in the third and led way to an offensive explosion for the Blue Raiders. Middle Tennessee scored six runs off hits by Shelby Sargent, Claire Czajkowski, and Amaya Harris. Ancye Harvey also recorded a sacrifice fly to tie the game.
Czajkowski, a freshman, recorded her career-high in runs scored, tallying four total for the game.
After tying the game following the third, MTSU gave up another home run, once again to Paige Cook, who hit two home runs and went 4-4.
Both teams struggled to field the ball, likely due to the unpredictability of the wind. MTSU and Mississippi State combined for eight errors in the game.
“We inflicted a little pain on ourselves, walking people, making three errors, but you know… it is what it is,” said coach Breeden.