Story by Quenterious Mabone / Contributing Author
After losing Game 1 of the series, the Blue Raiders lost to the Charlotte 49ers 6-2 after a three-point seventh snuffed out their comeback rally Friday at Blue Raider Softball Field.
Middle Tennessee (17-25, 4-10 C-USA) scored only in the fifth inning.
Head coach Jeff Breeden was disappointed to lose another game, especially when his team scored just two points in consecutive games.
“We have to take the games one at a time,” Breeden said. “It’s very difficult to lose a series, especially against your conference opponents, but we move on to Saturday.”
The game remained in a no-hitter stalemate for the first two innings of the contest. The 49ers managed to break up the scoreless battle in the third.
Charlotte started with a walk, but a fielder’s pick changed base runners with an out. A Blue Raider error put two 49ers up with one before Charlotte’s Bailey Vannoy hit a home run on the right center wall to drive three and give the 49ers a 3-0 lead.
The Blue Raiders looked to fight back in the fifth. Junior Kaylee Richetto started the inning with a huge brace that nearly left the Blue Raider softball field as it bounced all the way up the left field wall.
Sophomore Jaya Herring came on to pinch Richetto, before a rookie Claire Czajkowski groundout moved Herring to third to put on a Blue Raider 60
on foot. Rookie Ava Tepe drew a seven-length step to place the Blue Raiders riders into the turns. Sophomore Shelby Sargent then connected on a one-out single down the middle to tackle Herring, move Tepe into second and put the Blue Raiders on the board, 3-1.
A defensive player pick moved Tepe to third place but managed to steal home before Mealer was picked early to put the Blue Raiders within one, 3-2. In the seventh, Wright of the 49ers connected on a first single into center field to open the inning. Johnson moved forward to back up a sacrificial bunt from Lexi Wagner, before an RBI single from Frazier cut Charlotte’s lead to two, 4-2.
Vannoy then connected on a one-out double RBI to push another run and put the 49ers up by three, 5-2. An HBP put out another 49er, before taking three runs, 5-2. An HBP put in another 49er, before a final RBI single to center field ran through Vannoy and took the game to its final, 6-2.
“This game was a must win for us,” Laura Mealer said. “Losing in a row was unacceptable to us.”
The Blue Raiders host the Charlotte 49ers on Saturday for their series finale. The first pitch is scheduled for noon at Blue Raider Softball Field.