Fourth inning rally not enough for FGCU, start season with loss to Middle Tennessee
After the game’s start time being delayed nearly two hours, FGCU was unable to gain enough momentum for a comeback in its first game of the season.
The previous game between Michigan State and Middle Tennessee, as part of the FGCU Kickoff Classic tournament, ended late which extended into the originally scheduled 6 p.m. game between MT and FGCU.
MT claimed FGCU’s season opener, 4-2, after gaining an early lead with a 2-run second inning. In the top of the second inning, with runners on second and third base, MT shortstop Payton Grove doubled to centerfield, bringing in first baseman Danielle Munoz for the first run of the game.
MT’s Kristin Uselton, who had advanced to third, was able to earn the Blue Raiders’ their second run off of a foul by teammate Kirstyn Cuccia for a 2-0 lead. After sitting on second base through two batters in the fourth, MT’s Megan Griffith capitalized on a fielding error to earn MT’s third unanswered run of the day.
After a scoreless fifth inning, the Eagles closed in on the Raiders’ lead with two runs in the sixth inning. After being walked to first, FGCU centerfielder Kelsey Huff stole second, setting her up for Makensie McAvoy to step up to the plate. McAvoy’s single to right field allowed Huff to reach home. With McAvoy on base, a double to centerfield from Louie Ross allowed McAvoy to reach home, closing the lead to a one-run game.
In the seventh inning, MT’s Morgan Harris, whose double allowed for Carlie Jenkins to reach home, extending the Blue Raiders’ lead without answer.
For MT, Kelci Cheney was credited with the win, pitching through 5.2 innings and allowing 6 hits and 2 runs.
On the mound for FGCU, Riley Randolph earned the loss after pitching four complete innings, allowing 5 hits and 3 runs.
With the win, MT extends to a 1-1 season after suffering a defeat to Michigan State hours before, while FGCU takes a 1-0 start to the season.