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Softball splits pair at Cougar Classic

Blue Raiders defeat Wagner, fall to Lipscomb

February 25, 2012 · Athletic Communications

MT. PLEASANT, S.C. -- The Middle Tennessee softball team captured its first win of the season, defeating Wagner 6-3 before falling to Lipscomb 8-0 in five innings on Saturday at the College of Charleston Cougar Classic.

Middle Tennessee faced Wagner in the tournament’s fifth game on Saturday. Kristi Marquez put the Blue Raiders on the board first with a two-out RBI double in the second inning, scoring Bethany Jones who pinch ran for Kelsey Woodruff following a one-out walk. The Seahawks responded in the home half of the inning when Carley Nicoletti singled through the left side to bring home Brittany Huss.

Middle Tennessee picked up another two-out tally in the third. After Nina Davenport and Samantha Nieves grounded out to begin the inning, Kayla Toney kept the inning alive with a walk and then proceeded to steal second. Natalie Ysais knocked her in with a single through the left side to put the Blue Raiders back in front 2-1.

The lead would not last very long, however, as Wagner tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth when Nicoletti was doubled home by Kristen Matteoni.

The Seahawks then took their first lead of the contest in the fifth on a Jessica Albarran lead-off solo home run. Blue Raider starter Caty Jutson was relieved by Jordyn Fisherback who retired the next three batters to end the inning.

Seeming neither team wanted to maintain hold of the lead, Middle Tennessee tied the game for a third time in the top of the sixth when Nina Dever doubled home pinch runner Chelsea Good.

The Blue Raiders then took control of the game in the seventh. Toney led off the frame with a double and was singled home on a Popham single to left to put Middle Tennessee up 4-3. Woodruff followed with a double of her own to score Popham and make it 5-3. After Good was retired on an infield pop-up, Marquez increased the lead to three with an RBI single. Dever grounded into a fielder’s choice to send the game to the bottom of the seventh.

Jutson retired MacKenzie Alfaro and Albarran for two quick outs in the bottom half of the inning. The Seahawks refused to go down easily, though, as Brittany Huff singled and Hayley Sullivan reached after being hit by a pitch. The Blue Raider right hander dug deep and got Vanessa Lenart to fly out to right field to end the game and give Middle Tennessee a 6-3 victory.

Middle Tennessee temporarily bettered its record to 1-4 while Wagner fell to 0-2 on the season.

Jutson went three innings, allowing no earned runs on two hits for the win. Ashley Rollins gave up three earned runs on six hits in 1.2 innings pitched and received the loss.

Marquez went 2-3 with two runs batted in to lead the offensive charge for the Blue Raiders. Meanwhile Matteoni had three knocks and an RBI to pace Wagner.

Middle Tennessee was unable to build on its momentum from the Wagner game.

After both teams traded zeros in the first two innings, Lipscomb took a 2-0 lead in the third on a two-run double by Kelsey Cartwright. The Blue Raiders threatened in the bottom of the inning when Davenport and Nieves led off with back-to-back walks. Toney then knocked a single through the middle, but Davenport was thrown out at the plate. Ysais grounded into a fielder’s choice and Popham flied out to center field to end the inning with Lipscomb maintaining its 2-0 lead.

The Bison took complete control of the game with a six-run fourth inning in which Lipscomb tallied four hits and were benefited by three Middle Tennessee errors. Bree Thurman’s two-run double made it 5-0 after Kristen Sturdivant provided a run-scoring single earlier in the inning. Cartwright then blasted a three-run home run to give Lipscomb an 8-0 advantage.

Middle Tennessee went up-and-down in order in both the fourth and fifth to end the contest after five innings. The Blue Raiders fell to 1-5 on the season while Lipscomb upped its record to 6-3.

Jutson got the loss for Middle Tennessee, allowing four runs (two earned) on three hits in 3.1 innings pitched. Whitney Kiihnl tossed all five innings for the Bison, giving up no runs on four hits to get the win.

The Blue Raiders were led at the plate by Woodruff who went 2-2. Cartwright paved the way for Lipscomb, going 2-3 with a home run and 5 RBIs.

Middle Tennessee returns to action on Sunday when they face Virginia Tech at 10 a.m. CT followed by a meeting with College of Charleston at 2 p.m.

Follow every pitch of the Cougar Classic via live stats courtesy of College of Charleston which can be viewed at CofCsports.com. Periodic updates will also be provided via the Middle Tennessee softball social media pages on Twitter (@MT_Softball) and Facebook (MTSU Softball).

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