Blue Raiders top Jags in dramatic fashion

McLure scores game-winning run in final inning

March 22, 2009 · David Powell
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Sophomore Kellie Head threw arguably the finest game of her career and the Blue Raiders scored the deciding run in dramatic fashion as they fought to a 1-0 win over South Alabama at Blue Raider Field on Sunday afternoon.

Middle Tennessee (6-17, 1-5 Sun Belt) dropped the opening two games to the Jaguars (15-16-1, 2-4 Sun Belt) in a Saturday doubleheader.

Head (1-2) was superb on the mound for the Blue Raiders. The righty allowed just four hits and struck out a career-high six batters in what was also her first career shutout.

Beth Pilgrim (9-8) picked up the loss for the Jaguars, allowing one run on four hits while striking out seven batters in the complete game performance.

Kelsey Dortch started in the lead off position for the first time in her career and did not disappoint, smashing her third double of the season down the line in left field to open the game. However, Brittney Banania, Corrie Abel and Martha Davis were retired in a row to end the inning scoreless.

Dortch was 2-for-4 to lead the Blue Raider offense.

The Jaguars put two runners on with two outs on in the top of the second inning, but Katie McGuire's infield shot was lasered to first by third baseman Davis for the final out of the inning in what was a fine display of individual defensive effort.

Middle Tennessee came close but failed to score with a bases loaded opportunity in the fourth inning. Davis nailed a one-out single through the middle before Caty Jutson and Laurie Anna Cooley both reached to put three runners on. Tobie Joy struck out swinging for the third out.

Head showed great defense to compliment her well-thrown pitches in the top of the seventh inning. South Alabama put a runner on through a Kalin Lasseter single down the left field line but Head snagged a liner and what would have been at least a base hit through the middle then fired over to first for third out.

The Blue Raiders scored the game-deciding run in the final inning on a wild play. Caitlin McLure lined a two-out single into short center field to put a runner on first base for the home team, bringing up Dortch.

The sophomore popped a bunt into the air that landed just beyond the gloves of two sprawling Jaguar infielders, allowing McLure to reach second. South Alabama catcher Kristen Hayes picked ball up and fired over to first base in an effort to catch Dortch, but throw was late and McLure used the opportunity to head to third.

First baseman Lasseter threw over to third and Dortch attempted to advance to second, causing the third baseman to throw over to second baseman Christin Crocker. Dortch was safe on the play and McLure shot home to score the game-winning run.

Middle Tennessee returns to action for a single game against in-state rival Tennessee Tech on Tuesday. Opening pitch at Blue Raider Field is slated for 4 p.m.

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