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Blue Raiders end the 2024 season with a 4-3 comeback against New Mexico State

MURFREESBORO, Tenn.—Middle Tennessee State (21-31, 7-18) got a great performance from a host of players who donned the blue and white for the final time on Sunday afternoon. After trailing 3-0 to start the game, third baseman Claire Czajkowski ripped a double to right-center field in her final career at-bat to the starting pitcher Kamryn Carcichwho also hit a double in her final at-bat to cap off the comeback and give the Blue Raiders a 4-3 lead, a lead they did not relinquish to win the series against New Mexico State (28-23, 13 -11) in a 4-3 win.

“I was proud of all of our seniors today,” said Middle Tennessee State Head Coach Jeff Breeden. “They all contributed, and it was their day today. They showed they had a lot of energy and got the job done. (Carcich) was good and I thought the way we methodically got back into the game with a run here and a run there was good.”

Both teams started quickly. New Mexico State outfielder Devin Elam hit her second home run of the series; a three-run shot gave the Aggies a 3-0 lead. MTSU shortstop Shelby Echols placed a bunt single in no man’s land between the pitcher, catcher and third baseman and was brought around to score on Amaya Harris’ second triple and 22NL RBI of the season to make it 3-1 at the end of the opening frame.

MTSU catcher Ansley Blevins recorded her third RBI of the series on a sacrifice fly to centerfield, making this possible Shelby Echols to score her second point of the match and make it 3-2. Echols collected her first RBI of the game on a sacrifice fly to centerfield, tying the game at three in the bottom of the fourth, prior to Czajkowski’s go-ahead RBI in the fifth.

Echols finished the afternoon 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored and an RBI in her final game with the Blue Raiders.

“(Today) was really good,” Echols said. “I was struggling a little bit at the plate in the first two games, so I just wanted to leave it all there today. (MTSU) has meant a lot to me. Before I came here, I was really struggling mentally with enjoying playing softball “This place gave me a new opportunity and made me love softball again, so I was grateful for the opportunity to play here.”

Amaya Harris also had a memorable final performance, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a walk at the top of the lineup.

Carcich pitched six consecutive scoreless innings and retired 14 in a row from the second through sixth innings to win her 14e game of the year and finish her 13e complete game.

Middle Tennessee recognized eight players for Senior Day ceremonies, including: Savannah Behabetz, Kamryn Carcich, Amaya Harris, Shelby Sargent, Shelby Echols, Ashlee Jacobay, Claire Czajkowski And Keri Munn.

Kamryn Carcich And Keri Munn both competed in the circle for the Blue Raiders. Carcich was the ace of the Blue Raider staff, but also tied the program record for career saves with eight. The Ocean Springs, Mississippi, native threw a no-hitter against Appalachian State in 2023 and led the Blue Raiders in wins, complete games, innings pitched, starts in the circle and saves in 2024.

Munn played in 37 games and made 23 starts. The right-hander allowed just one run in 6.1 innings last season in the conference semifinals against Charlotte, sending the Blue Raiders to the conference title game.

Amaya Harris, Shelby Sargent And Savannah Behabetz were all integral parts of a great outfield unit that the Blue Raiders have been proud of over the past few seasons. Harris had 181 hits in her career, including a 20-game hitting streak in 2024, third most in the country this year. The Georgia native had a career fielding percentage of .972 and had 37 assists while saving countless runs with some spectacular catches in her career.

Shelby Sargent joined Harris in the outfield as the everyday centerfielder. The Murfreesboro native led Conference USA with five triples in 2023 and earned Tournament MVP, proving to be a crucial member of the 2023 conference championship team. She joins Amaya Harris as one of only two players in program history to start five career games in the NCAA Tournament.

Savannah Behabetz proved to be one of the better defensive outfielders for Middle Tennessee in her career. The native Texan did not make a single mistake in 71 games played in her career. Behabetz started 54 games a year ago.

In the infield, MTSU loses three players Shelby Echols, Claire Czajkowski And

Ashlee Jacobay. Echols played second base as a member of the 2023 Conference Championship team and switched to shortstop this season, starting all 52 games. Echols finished with a career batting average of .320’s and stole 40 bases in two years as a Blue Raider.

Czajkowski and Jacoway both contributed as corner infielders. Both Murfreesboro natives, Czajkowski played at the hot corner while Jacoway played first base. Jacoway, the former Oakland Patriot, played in a career-high 25 games this season and had a career-best performance against the Montana Grizzlies in 2023, scoring three runs on two hits in the season opener. Czajkowski enjoyed a three-RBI weekend while starting at third base against rival Western Kentucky in 2024.

“(The senior’s career) has meant a lot,” Breeden said. “If you go back to last year, it was phenomenal to finish 23rdrd in the country. They all played an important role in this. I’m just really happy that we finished things off well.”

According to the numbers:

57: The number of hits senior Shelby Echols ended the season by following her two hits in the season finale. That output is good enough for a team high and a top ten spot in Conference USA.

8: The MTSU program record for saves is held by senior Trish White Kamryn Carcich after her save in game two.


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