FIU Softball Split Final Series Against Middle Tennessee

Infielder Jessica Rivera was a key contributor in FIU’s win over Middle Tennessee as she hit a three run homer in the ninth giving the Panthers an 8-4 lead. Photo By FIU Athletics

Jonathan Mayer / Staff Writer

The FIU Softball team finished off the regular season with splitting their four game series over the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders on the road in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

The Panthers finished the season with an overall record of 15-26, which is sixth out of the seven teams in the Eastern Division of Conference USA.

Prior to their matchup, FIU has an overall record of 24 wins and 11 losses against the Blue Raiders, with recent wins coming from their series of April of 2018.. 

Game one of the four game weekend series was a highly contested pitching duel as both pitchers worked over a combined amount of 22 innings pitched. FIU pitcher Brooklyn Linneman went for 12 innings while giving up eight hits and striking out only one batter. 

Boths teams were scoreless heading into the bottom of the 13th when Linneman gave up a single, and forced an error that allowed the runner to move to third. Middle Tennessee then walked it off on the next batter with an RBI single.

In the second game of the Friday double-header, the Blue Raiders took the early 1-0 in the bottom of the first with a two-run single. Later, tacking on two more runs in the fourth on a triple. However, the Panthers did make a comeback in the fifth inning as after First Baseman Kayla Whitehead doubled, Third Baseman Brianna Hill singled her home making it a 4-1 ballgame. Further in the inning Outfielder Alexis Ross hit an RBI single that brought Hill and cut the deficit to two runs.

However, in the bottom half of the fifth, Middle Tennesee brought home a run making it 5-2.FIU was unable to come back, giving the Blue Raiders a commanding 2-0 series lead.

Game three of the series saw the Panthers go out on an offensive burst early in the first inning. After Ross had a leadoff walk, Shortstop Jessica Rivera singled, putting runners on the corners. Then, Second Baseman Venessa Gallegos, who has been a main part of the FIU lineup, hit a sacrifice fly making it 1-0 Panthers. Later in the inning after Whitehead walked, Hill hit a three run homer making it 4-0 FIU early in the first.

In the bottom of the inning, the Blue Raiders got a run on a single, and an additional two runs in the third,  bringing home one run in the fifth and tying up the game at 4-4. 

FIU responded in the top of the ninth as Outfielder Bailey Grossenbacher led off the inning with a single and Outfielder Brianna Bahadue got hit by a pitch, which was followed by Ross having an RBI single making it 5-4. This was followed by another three run homer, which was hit by Rivera giving the Panthers an 8-4 advantage. The Blue Raiders then came up with an opportunity in the ninth with the bases loaded and two outs, however FIU got out of the inning, giving them the 8-4 victory.

The final game of the series saw Rivera continue her hot hitting in the series as she hit an RBI double bringing home Outfielder Brittany Phillips. In the bottom half of the first, Middle Tennessee took back the lead on an RBI single and a two run double, giving the Blue Raiders a 3-1 lead. However, the game was then suspended in the fourth due to rain and was unable to finish. Ultimately, the Panthers were handed the 3-1 victory over the Blue Raiders as they split the series.

About the Author

Richard Gibson
Former Sports Director of PantherNOW

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