Softball begins conference play at North Texas

Three-game series begins Saturday

March 16, 2012 · Athletic Communications

DENTON, Texas -- The Blue Raider softball team begins conference play this weekend when the team heads to face North Texas for a three-game series beginning Saturday at Lovelace Stadium in Denton, Texas.

The two squads will play a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 2 p.m. CT prior to a noon tilt on Sunday.

The Blue Raiders (7-10) are fresh off a midweek doubleheader split with Eastern Illinois. After dropping the first game to the Panthers 2-1, Middle Tennessee tailored a dramatic 3-2 comeback victory in the second contest.

North Texas enters the weekend 8-14 overall, 0-3 in conference play. The Mean Green lost all three games at No. 11 UL-Lafayette in their conference-opening series last weekend before falling at No. 15 Baylor 2-1 in 11 innings on Wednesday.

"We have had a good couple of days of practice following the Eastern Illinois doubleheader," said Middle Tennessee head coach Sue Nevar. "North Texas is a good team that always competes well against us. I expect us to come out ready to play this weekend and play very well."

Laura Dukes has helped pace the Blue Raider offense recently. The freshman is batting an even .400 over her last four games with a pair of clutch home runs and three runs driven in. She sparked Middle Tennessee's come-from-behind victory on Wednesday over Eastern Illinois with a homer to lead off the bottom of the seventh.

Meanwhile Nina Davenport has also been on a hot streak as of late. Over her past eight games, she has recorded a .346 average at the dish while leading the squad with four stolen bases over that span. The Chattanooga native went a combined 3-6 against EIU while scoring the game-winning run in the latter game of the doubleheader.

Senior hurler Caty Jutson has provided Middle Tennessee with a couple of strong performances in the circle her last two times out. She limited Lipscomb to two earned runs over 5.1 innings this past Sunday before tossing a complete game against the Panthers on Wednesday, also giving up just two runs while scattering five hits.

Middle Tennessee holds an all-time series lead of 16-11 against the Mean Green. The Blue Raiders swept the teams’ three-game series last season in Murfreesboro.

Live stats and radio will be available for each game of the series courtesy of North Texas. In addition, a free live web stream will be provided for Saturday’s doubleheader. Periodic updates will also be provided via the Middle Tennessee softball social media pages on Twitter @MT_Softball and on Facebook at the MTSU Softball page.

Fans are encouraged to keep track of the teams’ social media pages this weekend to follow the team during their road trip to North Texas.

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