Softball suffers doubleheader defeats

Blue Raiders lose to No. 8 Tennessee, Murray State

March 4, 2012 · Athletic Communications

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The Middle Tennessee softball team was bitten by the two-out rally bug on Sunday at the Tennessee Classic as the Blue Raiders fell 6-3 to No. 8 Tennessee before dropping a 6-4 decision to Murray State.

Of the combined 12 runs allowed by Middle Tennessee on Sunday, 10 were scored with two outs.

In the first game of the day, Tennessee was able to take an early lead with a run in the bottom of the first. After Middle Tennessee starter Caty Jutson retired the first two batters, Lauren Gibson walked and Madison Shipman brought her home on a double to left-center to put the Lady Vols up 1-0 after one inning.

The Lady Vols posted three two-out runs to extend their lead to 4-0 in the second. Raven Chavanne tripled high off the wall in right-center field to bring home Cheyanne Tarrango and Shelby Burchell. Kat Dotson followed with an RBI single to score Chavanne and put Tennessee up 4-0.

Nina Dever’s three-run home run pulled Middle Tennessee to within 4-3 in the fourth. Natalie Ysais walked to begin the inning. After Kelsey Woodruff popped up for the first out of the frame, Chelsea Good reached on an error by the Tennessee third baseman Chavanne. Dever then came to the plate and delivered a rocket to dead-center field, barely scraping over the fence to cut the deficit to 4-3.

Tennessee got a run back with another two-out tally in the bottom of the frame. With runners on first and third and two away, Gibson broke for second base, drawing a throw from Blue Raider catcher Natalie Ysais. Tory Lewis then headed home from third base, beating the throw back home to give the Lady Vols a 5-3 advantage.

The home team extended its lead to 6-3 when Kat Dotson’s sacrifice fly scored Whitney Hammond from third base.

Down 6-3 entering the top of the seventh, Ysais reached with two outs on an error by the shortstop Shipman to give the Blue Raiders a glimmer of hope. Woodruff was unable to extend the game, however, striking out swinging to end the game.

Chavanne and Dotson led Tennessee’s offense as they both drove home two runs. Meanwhile Dever’s three-run home run paced Middle Tennessee.

Ellen Renfroe picked up the win for the Lady Vols as she gave up three runs (two earned) while scattering seven hits in 4.2 innings of work. Jutson received the loss, throwing all six innings while giving up six runs on six hits.

Tennessee improved its 2012 record to 14-3 with the victory while the Blue Raiders temporarily fell to 3-7.

Middle Tennessee began the game against the Racers much like their first contest of the day as Murray State picked up a two-out run in the top of the first to take an early 1-0 advantage.

The Blue Raiders came back with a run of their own in the bottom of the second. Popham began the frame by reaching on an error by Murray State shortstop Alexa Becker. After Woodruff sacrificed her to second, Popham scored when another Racer error – this one by third baseman Stephanie Edwards – allowed Good to reach, tying the contest at 1-1.

Middle Tennessee then jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the third. Davenport singled to left to start the inning. Following a Samantha Nieves infield pop-up, Kayla Toney delivered a two-run blast over the left field fence to put Middle Tennessee up 3-1. Two batters later, Popham rocketed one over the score board in left field to make it 4-1.

The Racers responded the next inning as Christian Cox singled to right-center field, scoring Alaina Zloty and Ellyn Troup to pull the Racers to within one run.

An inning later Murray State pieced together four singles to take a 6-4 advantage. The big hit of the frame once again came with two outs as Meghan Sims collected a two-out, two-run single up the middle.

After it appeared the Blue Raider bats had broken out, Racer relief pitcher Shelby Kosmecki took control of the game, holding Middle Tennessee to just three hits over the final four innings.

The Blue Raiders brought the tying run to the plate in the top of the seventh after Davenport raced out an infield single. Nieves was unable to extend the rally, flying out to medium-range center field to end the game.

“Today was an extremely disappointing day,” said Middle Tennessee head coach Sue Nevar. “We had our chances in both games, but we continue to make mistakes that hurt us and end up costing us opportunities to win games.”

Middle Tennessee dropped its record to 3-8 on the season with the defeat while the Racers improved to 5-5.

Kosmecki captured the win in the circle for Murray State as she did not allow a run, giving up just three hits in 4.1 innings of relief work. Blue Raider starter Caitlin McClure took the loss, allowing six earned runs on seven hits over 4.1 innings before she left the game after being hit by a line drive in the fifth inning.

Toney went 3-3 with a two-run home run to pace the Blue Raiders at the plate. Cox, Sims and Leslie Bridges led Murray State with three RBIs each.

Middle Tennessee will aim to get back into the win column when the Blue Raiders take part in the Lady Bison Classic hosted by Lipscomb next weekend in Nashville.

Follow the Blue Raider softball team on Twitter @MT_Softball and on Facebook at the MTSU Softball page. Also, stay up-to-date on the team with the latest softball news and information at the brand-new “Softball Notebook” page which can be found here.

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