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Blue Raiders Take Series in Comeback 4-3 win

Late rally in final inning key to victory

April 6, 2008 · David Powell
DENTON, Texas - Ashley Cline was 2-for-4 with the game-tying RBI as the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (14-18, 7-7) saved their best for last to win 4-3 in the deciding game of a conference series against the North Texas Mean Green (20-23, 8-7) at Lovelace Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Lindsey Vander Lugt (10-10) picked up the start and the win for the Blue Raiders. The sophomore gave up three runs on nine hits, while striking out one and walking one in the complete game.

Mean Green starter Jennifer Smith (7-10) picked up the defeat, giving up four runs on eight hits, while striking out five and walking one, in 6.2 innings.

Kayla Lawson also pitched for North Texas, working the final batter for an out in the relief appearance.

North Texas took an early 1-0 lead in the 1st inning. Katya Muller started things off for the home team with a single that was too deep for shortstop Brittney Banania to fire to first base. Mallory Cantler and Sarah Jones hit back-to-backs singles, the former for a RBI to score Muller.

The Mean Green added two more runs in the 2nd inning when Lauren Bergstrom and Mariza Martinez hit RBI doubles to left field, making it 3-0 in favor of North Texas.

Middle Tennessee pulled a run back in the 3rd inning. Caitlin McLure walked to put a runner on before Banania smacked an RBI double to the gap in left field, scoring a hustling McLure all the way from first base.

As the game entered the final inning, the Blue Raiders looked to have dropped their ninth conference game of the season. However, as has been the case for much of the season, when their backs have been against the wall they have performed their best.

Ashley Cline stepped to the plate with two outs and Banania on first base looking to rally the Blue Raiders from a 3-1 deficit. The senior crushed a 2-and-1 pitch to deep centerfield and rounded first with as the ball ricocheted off the wall for a RBI double.

Katie Mielke followed Cline's clutch hit with one of her own as she slammed a second RBI double, scoring Cline and tying the game at three runs apiece. With the momentum firmly in MT's favor, Corrie Abel nailed her second game-winning hit of the weekend, plating Mielke.

Vander Lugt did not allow any runs in the final inning as Middle Tennessee picked up their seventh conference win of the season with the 4-3 victory.

The Blue Raiders return to action on Wednesday for a non-conference doubleheader against Southeast Missouri in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Game time is set for 4 PM. Follow the action live by selecting the appropriate links on GoBlueRaiders.com.

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