Darlington Hits Grand Slam
Blue Raiders defeat Virginia 11-2February 18, 2007 · MT Media Relations
TUCSON, Ariz. - Middle Tennessee junior Whitney Darlington hit a grand slam to lead the Blue Raider softball team (3-7) to an 11-2 victory, in the consolation game, against Virginia (5-5) Sunday in the Worth Wildcat Tournament. The club took the game in five innings.
The Blue Raiders end the weekend 2-3 and it evens their all-time record with the Cavaliers to 3-3. The win over Virginia avenges Middle Tennessee's heart-wrenching loss to the Cavaliers on Friday, in which UVA came back to take the game from the Blue Raiders in the final inning.
Junior pitcher Amy Candioto got her first start as a Blue Raider. She tossed four innings allowing two runs on eight hits and improves to 1-1 on the season. Sophomore Sam Floyd came into the game in the bottom of the fifth inning to close out the game.
Virginia took the early lead scoring two runs in the first inning. Elea Crocket hit a one out single to get things started. Kelly Haller finished it when she took an offering by Candioto over the left field wall for the two RBI homerun.
Middle Tennessee pulled within one run in the top of the second inning. Whitney Darlington led off with a single to the pitcher and promptly stole second. A ground out by Sam Floyd moved Darlington to third base. Shelby Stiner stepped up and singled through the left side to score Darlington.
Justine Cerda continues to come through for the Blue Raiders and she did it again in the top of the third inning. With Katie Mielke on first base, after a fielder's choice play, Cerda hit a double to left center to score Mielke and tie the game at two. The Blue Raiders took the lead when Darlington singled up the middle to score Cerda. Darlington stole her first base of the season to set up the Blue Raiders third run of the inning. Stiner hit a liner to third base that was mishandled allowing Darlington to score thanks to a Virginia throwing error.
Mielke padded Middle Tennessee's lead in top of the fourth. The junior catcher hit a two RBI homerun over the centerfield wall. It was her third homerun of the year and fifth of her career.
Middle Tennessee exploded for five runs in the top of the fifth inning. Melissa Weiland led off the inning with a single, and was replaced at first by pinch runner Kristine Reed. Caitlin McLure's bunt single moved Reed to second and Reed was thrown out on a fielder's choice that allowed Ashley Cline to reach first. A single by Martha Davis loaded the bases. Virginia pitcher Coty Tolar walked Mielke with bases loaded to score McLure. With two outs, and bases loaded, Darlington hit a grand slam over the left field wall to clear the bases.
Virginia tried to mount a comeback in the bottom of the fifth inning. Meghan O'Leary led off the inning with a double to left center. This prompted Head Coach Leigh Podlesny to replace pitcher Candioto with Floyd. Cavalier first baseman Haller singled up the middle but Virginia's scoring chance was shot down when O'Leary attempted to go home and Davis threw a strike from center field to Mielke to gun her down. Floyd then forced Abby Snyder to pop up to second base for the second out. Floyd did make it interesting, walking Amy McKean to load the bases. However, Virginia's scoring threat was thwarted when Brooke Sorber fouled out to first base.
Darlington led the club against Virginia. She was a perfect 4-for-4 in the game with a homerun, two stolen bases, three runs scored and five RBI. Mielke was 1-for-3 with a homerun, three runs scored and three RBI.
NOTES: In five games at the Worth Wildcat Tournament, Middle Tennessee scored a total of 36 runs ... Whitney Darlington hit the first grand-slam of the year ... Four players hit above .400 in five games at the tournament ... Darlington led the club in the tournament with a .643 batting average going 9-for-14 with 10 RBI, two homeruns, one double, one triple, five runs scored and two stolen bases ... Justine Cerda hit .444 with eight hits, a homerun, two doubles, four RBI and four runs scored ... Caitlin McLure also hit .444 with four hits and four runs scored ... Shelby Stiner rounded out the .400 or above club with a .400 batting average with four hits, three runs and one RBI ... Katie Mielke had six hits, scored seven runs, hit two homeruns and had seven RBI ... Middle Tennessee's run-rule win over Virginia was the first of the season for the Blue Raiders.
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