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Softball opens season with home doubleheader

Team to host Murray State @ 1 p.m.

February 12, 2011 · Athletic Communications

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee softball will open their 2011 season on Sunday at home, as they will play host the Murray State Racers in doubleheader action at Blue Raider Field. The first pitch will be thrown out at 1 p.m.

Sunday's matchup will mark the first ever meeting between the two programs, and the start of Murray State's second season of NCAA competition. It will also be the first time since 2005 the Blue Raider have played an Ohio Valley Conference opponent on opening-day, as well as the first time since 2004 MT has commenced the season at home.

"I'm excited for everyone to see how hard our girls have worked in the off-season," head coach Sue Nevar said. "It is free to all, so we hope to have a big turn out."

The 2011 Blue Raider team returns seven of 10 starters from 2010 and boasts a strong freshman class that has Nevar very excited about the program's future.

"We return most of our infield and outfield starters," Nevar said. "However our freshman class has stepped up and will steal lineup spots if the starters are not producing."

The infield will feature four returners from last season, with Natalie Ysais behind the plate, Kaycee Popham at first, Kandra Singleton at second and Kristi Maquez covering the hot-corner at third. Senior short stop Brittney Banania will not start this weekend because of a knee. She is expected to return within the next couple of weeks. Nina Dever will fill in at short in her stead.

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In the outfield, seniors Corrie Abel and Kelsey Dortch will produce on the field as well in leadership capacities. Each have strong bats and are expected to put up strong numbers to help the team success. Sophomore Nina Davenport will take up the remaining outfield spot. Davenport has great speed and can give pitchers fits on the base paths.

Pitchers Caty Jutson and Janele Robinson return to lead an unknown quantity in the circle. Freshman Jordyn Fisherback and Shelby Stinnett both have impressive high school resumes, however, their ability to transition to the collegiate game will be key in their success.

"We are playing the role of underdog in the conference and we like that role. We want to prove we belong with the best in the conference."

Live play-by-play radio, statistics and post-game coverage a will be available at GoBlueRaiders.com and twitter.com/MT_Softball.

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