Late-inning rally dooms Softball

Blue Raiders drop 7-3 decision to North Texas

March 18, 2012 · Athletic Communications

DENTON, Texas. -- For the second-straight day, Middle Tennessee was unable to hang on to a late lead as the Blue Raiders fell to North Texas 7-3 on Sunday afternoon in the finale of the teams’ three-game series.

After Middle Tennessee recorded two runs in the top of the sixth to claim a 3-2 lead, North Texas responded with five runs in their half of the frame en route to the 7-3 win.

The afternoon began with Middle Tennessee starter Jordyn Fisherback and Mean Green hurler Brittany Simmons pitched in and out of trouble over the first three innings.

The Blue Raiders threatened to get on the board first in the second when Samantha Nieves walked and Kristi Marquez singled to right to put a pair of runners on with none out. Three consecutive groundouts, however, put an end to the inning with Middle Tennessee failing to score.

North Texas right fielder Darian Blake led off the bottom of the second with a lead-off walk. However, Fisherback sat down the next three batters to escape with no damage done.

The Mean Green finally broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth on a two-run home run by Maddelyn Fraley, putting North Texas up 2-0.

The Blue Raiders got a run of their own in the top of the fifth. Marquez walked and Nina Davenport and Nina Dever tallied back-to-back singles to load the bases with one out. After Marquez was cut off at the plate on a Kayla Toney fielder’s choice ground out, Kayce Popham reached on an error by North Texas shortstop Brooke Foster, scoring Davenport to cut the deficit to 2-1.

Middle Tennessee then took the lead the following inning. Laura Dukes blasted a solo rocket to lead things off for the Blue Raiders, tying the game at 2-2. Ysais reached on an error by Mean Green third baseman Lesley Hirsch and a Marquez walk and Davenport single once again loaded the bases with one out. After Dever popped up on the infield, Toney was hit by a pitch which scored Ysais and gave the Blue Raiders a 3-2 lead. Popham fouled out to end the inning, sending the game to the bottom of the sixth with Middle Tennessee leading by a run.

Unfortunately the lead would not last as North Texas came back with five runs to retake the lead. The big blow was Hirsch’s two-out, bases-clearing triple.

Middle Tennessee put a couple of runners on in the top of the seventh but was unable to cut into the deficit, falling 7-3.

"Jordyn Fisherback pitched very well today," said Middle Tennessee head coach Sue Nevar. "Unfortunately our offense did not show up once again. We got good pitching today and played well defensively, but we have to get more from our offense."

The Blue Raiders dropped to 7-13 overall, 0-3 in league play while North Texas improved its record to 11-14, 3-3.

Fisherback was hit with the loss as she allowed seven earned runs in 5.2 innings. Kirk got the win for North Texas, tossing 1.2 innings of relief while allowing no runs and scattering three hits.

Davenport led Middle Tennessee offensively, going 2-4 with a run scored. Hirsch’s three-run triple paved the way for North Texas.

The Blue Raiders will return home this week for a Wednesday doubleheader against Evansville beginning at 1 p.m.

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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