Softball moves above .500 with three OVC?home wins

Jenny Rohl/The News Freshman Jocelyn Rodgers swings at a pitch in the Racers’ doubleheader against Tennessee Tech.
Jenny Rohl/The News Freshman Jocelyn Rodgers swings at a pitch in the Racers’ doubleheader against Tennessee Tech.

Jenny Rohl/The News
Freshman Jocelyn Rodgers swings at a pitch in the Racers’ doubleheader against Tennessee Tech.

Freshman Taylor Odom led the softball team to a successful 3-1 weekend record Saturday and Sunday to move the Racers to 19-18 on the season.

Odom’s weekend included four runs, six RBIs, three walks, two doubles, a triple, a home run and a stolen base.

Her performance did not go unnoticed, as she was the recipient of her first Adidas OVC Player of the Week award.

Murray State Head Coach Kara Amundson praised Odom’s accomplishments.

“Taylor did an amazing job,” Amundson said. “She’s been doing really well at staying ready and waiting her turn. Her number was called this week and she stepped up and did an incredible job. She did the things her team needed her to do.”

The excitement was not lost on Odom, either.

“This award was a very big deal to me, especially coming in as a freshman,” she said. “It just proves how hard I’ve worked.”

Odom and the Racers began the four-game home stand when they took on Tennessee Tech in a doubleheader Saturday.

The Racers came out hot in the first game with sophomore Shelbey Miller scoring first with a solo home run.

In the following inning, Miller came up with another huge hit as she doubled off the left field wall to drive home freshman Cayla Levins for the Racers’ second run.

The Golden Eagles came back in the fourth inning with back-to-back doubles, then scored the go-ahead run on an error by catcher Jocelynn Rodgers.

Odom hit her first career home run to put the Racers back on top and seal the 5-4 victory.

“It was very exciting,” Odom said. “I’ve always said I wanted to hit a home run in college and I came in and did it.”

In the rematch, the Golden Eagles jumped out to the early lead, scoring four runs in the third inning.

Though Murray State bounced back in the fourth inning to close the gap to 4-3, the Racer offense went cold.

Tennessee Tech tagged on five more runs to win the game 9-3.

Despite the loss, Odom said the team remained confident heading into Sunday’s doubleheader with conference leader Jacksonville State.

“When we lost (to Tennessee Tech), everyone was saying ‘we’ve got this, we’re going to go in strong and work really hard,’” Odom said. “Just knowing how good we can be gave us confidence going into the Jacksonville State games.”

The Gamecocks entered Sunday on a roll, having pitched shutouts in their previous five games.

The Racers ended that streak, scoring three runs in the fifth inning and two in the sixth to win 5-0.

In game two, the Racers wasted no time in the bottom of the first, scoring three runs.

With bases loaded, Odom hit a double up the middle to score all three runners.

Jacksonville State tied the game in the third inning with a three-run homer.

After exchanging the lead a few times, junior Mo Ramsey and senior Leslie Bridges each scored a run in the bottom of the seventh to win the game in dramatic fashion 6-5.

“I’m most proud of how we turned around very quickly on Sunday and came out guns blazing ready to compete,” Amundson said. “Jacksonville State is always an incredibly talented team, and the way we competed on Sunday is how we are more than capable of playing all the time.”

 

Story by Peter Northcutt, Staff writer