MTSU Baseball's Most Memorable Moments of Short Season
MTN Sports Director
Middle Tennessee State University baseball was just one day away from the first conference match-up of the season when news broke out that all Conference USA athletics will be suspended to protect players and fans from the fast spreading coronavirus. Out of the scheduled 56 games, the Blue Raiders only played 17, resulting in a 7-10 record.
With a season as short as this one, it leaves fans, players, and coaches wondering how this season could have turned out if all 56 games were played. However, instead of focusing on the ‘what if,’ the Blue Raider baseball team reflected on what games and moments from this season they can hang on to forever.
March 7- Coastal Carolina
“If I had to pick one game, I’d have to pick the Coastal Carolina game with Cheese (Austin Cheeley),” Fasuto Lopez said.
Cheeley pitched in what he did not know was his last outing of the season against Coastal Carolina where he closed the game to give the Blue Raiders their only win of the season on the road. This game was special because of the recent loss of Cheeley’s father, who passed away after a long battle with bladder cancer the night before the game.
“Being able to be out there knowing that he’s no longer in pain and knowing that now he has the best seat in the house,” Cheeley said. “That’s what got me through it.”
It only took three batters for Cheeley to close the game and give MTSU the 12-5 win.
“It was a really emotional game for the whole team,” Brycen Thomas said. “It takes a whole lot of courage to battle something like that and to perform the way he did.”
February 20- Bradley One Hitter
In the home opener for Reese Smith Jr. Field, the Blue Raiders hosted Bradley in what would become a historic game. Zach Keenan led the MTSU defense for six innings on the mound without giving up a single hit.
“I had no idea until about the eighth inning,” Keenan said. “My mind was blown.”
Adam Link took over the mound in the seventh inning to close the game allowing only one hit with six strikeouts.
This was the first win of the season for the Blue Raiders with a final score of 5-0.
March 3- Lipscomb Walk-off
The home match-up against Lipscomb was a back-and-forth battle with a four-game losing streak on the Blue Raiders’ shoulders.
MTSU managed to score in seven different innings including a single by Lopez with bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th inning to bring in the winning run. The walk-off single led to Blue Raiders crowding Lopez and showering him with water and Gatorade.
“Even though we made mistakes, we never gave up and fought as a team to get the win,” Brian Dillingham said. “It was a great moment for the team and really pushed momentum in our direction to make things start happening in all aspects of the game.”
DJ Wright finished the game batting 4-5 with two RBIs and Lopez finished with three RBIs of his own.
Lipscomb was sitting on an 8-3 record before facing MTSU.
With the whole season being cancelled, MTSU baseball is only able to think of next season to finish what they have started. The 2020 season record will sit at 7-10 without any conference match-ups played.