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Pitching Shines for Blue Raiders; Offense Dominates

Perfect 8-0 to close out fall campaign

October 10, 2006 · MT Media Relations

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee softball recently completed a successful fall campaign by sweeping all its opponents and ending with a perfect 8-0 record.

The Blue Raiders had four shutouts and outscored their opponents 36-7. Middle Tennessee also showed off some offensive power, hitting .315 as a team with 47 hits, seven doubles, one triple and five homeruns.

"It was very rewarding to see the hard work our upperclassmen have been putting in over the last year start to pay off on the field," said Head Coach Leigh Podlesny. "This group has great leadership from the senior class and commitment across the board to turn this program into a nationally competitive team. That is the first step toward building championship program."

A lot of Middle Tennessee's success in the fall can be attributed to the play on the mound. The pitching battery consisted of youth with sophomore Samantha Floyd and freshman Lindsey Vander Lugt handling all of the duties.

Floyd had a phenomenal fall ending with a 1.00 ERA in 18.0 innings pitched. She had 21 strikeouts in five appearances and allowed nine hits and four runs.

Vander Lugt led the club with three shutouts in four starts. She had a 1.17 ERA in 23.0 innings pitched, allowing just three runs on 13 hits and striking out 14.

The pitching ranks were backed by a powerful lineup.

Senior third baseman Melissa Weiland led the Blue Raiders with a scorching .563 batting average in 16 at-bats. She had nine hits, two homeruns, three doubles, seven RBI and six runs scored. Weiland was one of seven Blue Raiders to hit above .300 in the fall.

Floyd ranked second on the team at the plate. She ended the fall with a .545 batting average with six hits and five RBI.

Whitney Darlington, a transfer from Motlow State, made her presence known in the fall with a .500 batting average. She had six hits, one double, a triple and was a perfect 5-for-5 in stolen bases.

Ashley Cline, a transplant from the University of Tennessee, hit .400. She had four hits, scored four runs and was 2-for-2 in stolen bases.

Junior Kristine Reed had a productive fall with a .333 batting average. She had three hits and one double.

Senior shortstop Shelby Stiner proved she had the long ball in her repertoire, tying Weiland for most homeruns in the fall with two. She ended the fall with a .313 batting average with five hits, five RBI, five runs scored and was 4-for-4 in stolen bases.

Fellow senior Muriel Ledbetter rounded out the top hitters for the fall with a .300 batting average. The highlight for Ledbetter in the fall was when she hit a walk-off three-run homerun to give the Blue Raiders a 3-2 win over Trevecca.

"It's obvious this group is motivated and driven to succeed," Podlesny said. "We are not going to be satisfied until we are ranked."

In the next few days, Middle Tennessee will announce its schedule for the 2007 season. It will be highlighted by the Blue Raiders hosting the 2007 Sun Belt Softball Tournament on May 10-12 at Blue Raider Field.

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.