Herald Powers Lady Raiders To Win

March 19, 2004 · MT Media Relations
ATLANTA, Ga. - Freshmen typically aren't expected to be major contributors to their respective athletic teams, but Middle Tennessee rookie first baseman Brittany Herald is the exception rather than the rule.

The Lady Raiders' second-leading hitter, Herald continued her outstanding play against Georgia Southern in the opening day of the Buzz Classic Friday.

Herald was 2-for-3 with her first career home run, a double, two RBI and two runs scored as Middle Tennessee beat Georgia Southern, 5-1, in the first game of tournament action. Her play Friday is not out of the ordinary this season. In fact, it's come to be expected.

"Middle Tennessee needed a slugging first baseman and we have found that and more in Brittany Herald," Lady Raider softball coach Cindy Connelly said. "She has stepped in and played very well for us, but we expected her to do that."

Herald, a native of Old Hickory, Tenn., who prepped at tradition-rich Ezell-Harding, is second on the team in hitting (.434), second in doubles (seven) and second in RBI (15).

"I'm just trying to do my part to contribute to the team," Herald said. "I don't look at it as being a freshman. I look at it as being in the lineup and it's my job to perform."

She was solid once again Friday as the Lady Raiders (10-7) started the Buzz Classic, hosted by Georgia Tech, on a positive note.

In addition to Herald's strong play, catcher Angie Huebner was 1-for-3 with a home run, while Cortney Mitchell tripled and scored a run to help pace the Lady Raiders' five-hit attack.

The timely hitting backed the solid starting pitching of Jennifer Dorais (2-2), who allowed two hits in four innings to notch the win. Freshman Trish White came on to pitch the final three innings, allowing three hits and no runs, to earn her first career save.

Huebner gave the Lady Raiders the early lead when she blasted her team-leading fifth home run deep over the fence in left field in the top of the second.

The Lady Raiders broke the game open with a three-spot in the top of the fourth, highlighted by extra-base hits by Mitchell and Herald. Mitchell ignited the uprising with her team-leading third triple, and Herald rattled a double off the center field fence to stake Middle Tennessee to a 2-0 lead.

With one out, Dani DeCamino singled to put runners on the corners and then stole second. Katie Tompkins then lofted a deep fly ball to center to score DeCamino, but when Georgia Southern center fielder Shanita Black dropped the ball Tompkins came all the way around to score from second and stake the Lady Raiders to a 4-0 lead.

"The big inning in the fourth was key because it put the pressure on Georgia Southern," Connelly said. "That inning allowed us to distance ourselves against a quality team that has played a tough schedule."

Georgia Southern (14-11) pushed across a run in the bottom of the fourth, but the Lady Raiders got it back in the top of the sixth when Herald drilled her first career home run over center field fence.

"I had been waiting on that first one," Herald said of her first circuit clout. "I've had many opportunities and missed them so it was good to get that first one. The biggest thing was getting off to a good start in the tournament."

GAME NOTES: Cortney Mitchell's triple in the fourth was her third of the season and tied her for fourth on the single-season list. She has all three of the team's three-baggers this season. The single-season record for triples is six. Third baseman Danni DeCamino's stolen base in the fourth was her first of the season and only the third of her Lady Raider career. Brittany Herald connected for her first career home run in the fourth inning. Catcher Angie Huebner has caught every inning of every game for Middle Tennessee. She connected for her fifth home run and drove in her 17th run against Georgia Southern, both team highs. Huebner's fifth home run placed her No. 4 on the single-season list and just five off the pace established by Laura Brockman in 2000.

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