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Blue Raiders split with FAU

Singleton leads Blue Raiders in strong showing

April 25, 2009 · David Powell
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Kandra Singleton continued her strong play of late by going a combined 4-for-6 with two runs scored as Middle Tennessee split the opening doubleheader of a three-game series against Florida Atlantic at Blue Raider Field on Saturday afternoon.

The Blue Raiders came into the day winners of three of their last four games after picking up a doubleheader sweep of local rivals Tennessee State on Wednesday.

Middle Tennessee (12-31, 4-16 Sun Belt) scored five runs in the early going as they rolled to a 5-3 victory over the Owls (26-26, 9-11 Sun Belt) in the first game.

Vander Lugt (9-15) threw her third-straight shutout in the five-strikeout performance. The junior lefty gave up just three hits in the complete game victory.

Amber Barton (6-5) gave up five runs on three hits in a single inning for the Owls.

Kat Stauffer worked the final five innings in relief for the away team, giving up just three hits and striking out six of the 18 batters she faced.

Middle Tennessee opened strong in the first inning. Caitlin McLure drew a one-out walk to reach first base and Natalie Ysais looked to have flied out two batters later for the final out of the inning, but Owls leftfielder Brittany Walker dropped her deep fly ball at the warning track to push a run across the plate.

Later in the inning, Kaycee Popham smacked a base hit to score Ysais and make it 2-0.

The Blue Raiders added three more runs in the second. Tobie Joy led off thes frame with a four-pitch walk and Singleton used her speed to beat out an infield single, before Kelsey Dortch drove in her ninth run of the season with a double off the glove of Owls third baseman Ashlyn Parmerter.

Martha Davis, who was honored before the game as the lone senior on this year's squad, smashed a two-RBI single to make 5-0.

Florida Atlantic pulled three runs back in the top of the third inning off a Caitlin Bliss shot to third base and a fielding error by Blue Raider shortstop Brittney Banania.

Outfielder McLure was on hand to provide some stellar defense and save another run from scoring when she gunned down Parmerter at home from left field.

The Blue Raiders scored first but fell victim to five errors as they fell 6-3 to Florida Atlantic in the second game of the day.

Vander Lugt (9-16) gave up five earned runs on eight hits in 4.2 innings.

Sophomore Kellie Head made her second-straight strong performance, allowing no runs over the final 2.1 innings in the relief appearace.

Carrie Ann Potter (6-7) got the complete-game win for the Owls, giving up three runs on seven hits and striking out seven.

Ambar Jones and Blair Bodenmiller led off the game with two-straight singles before Bliss nailed a sacrifice fly to right field to make it 1-0

The Blue Raiders tied the game in the bottom of the inning. McLure doubled to left field and scored on a throwing error to even the game at one run apiece.

The junior was caught in between second and third base after Davis reached on a fielder's choice, but FAU third baseman Parmerter threw over the head of the second baseman during the rundown, allowing McLure to score.

Florida Atlantic scored one run in both the third and fourth innings to take a 3-1 lead before closing out the game in the fifth frame with a three-run homerun by Becky Brandies.

Middle Tennessee made it 6-2 when Kaycee Popham scored from third base off a double steal with two outs in the sixth inning.

The Blue Raiders came close to rallying in the final inning. Singleton and Dortch singled to lead things off and McLure reached on a fielder's choice with all the runners safe to load the bases, but Davis grounded into a double play to make it two outs. Singleton scored on the play to make it 6-3.

The loss leaves Middle Tennessee needing four-straight wins and Louisiana-Monroe to lose its remaining six games for the Blue Raiders to qualify for the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.

Middle Tennessee concludes its series with Florida Atlantic on Sunday. Opening pitch at Blue Raider field is slated for Noon.

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