Softball begins road swing at Jacksonville State

Doubleheader games at 2 and 4 p.m. CT

March 26, 2012 · Athletic Communications

JACKSONVILLE, Ala. -- Fresh off a 4-1 homestand, the Middle Tennessee softball team embarks upon an 11-game road swing when it travels to take on Jacksonville State on Tuesday at University Field.

The teams will play a doubleheader with Game 1 scheduled for 2 p.m. CT and the second game following at 4 p.m.

Middle Tennessee (11-14, 2-4 Sun Belt) enters play on Tuesday following a successful week at home in which the Blue Raiders swept a midweek doubleheader from Evansville before taking two-of-three over the weekend against ULM.

Jacksonville State (14-16, 9-2 Ohio Valley Conference) won its conference series with Eastern Kentucky this past weekend, picking up 5-4 and 3-1 victories sandwiched around an 8-4 loss. The Gamecocks have won 10 of their last 12 games overall.

“I like how we are playing right now,” said Middle Tennessee head coach Sue Nevar. “Our pitching was solid all week last week and our bats came alive over the weekend. Jacksonville State is a good team, so it is imperative that we come out ready to play well so that we can head to Mobile this weekend with some momentum.”

Middle Tennessee catcher Natalie Ysais led the Blue Raiders at the plate last week, going 6-13 with a pair of home runs, five RBIs and four runs scored. The highlight of the week for the senior came on Sunday when she belted a two-run blast to break a 4-4 tie with ULM, sending the Blue Raiders on to a 6-4 victory.

First baseman Kaycee Popham also had a good homestand at the dish. She tallied a .533 average over the five-game stretch with a home run, two runs knocked in and four runs scored. The Silver Creek, Ga., product is now batting .385 on the year with a team-leading five long balls and 17 RBIs.

Middle Tennessee pitchers Caty Jutson and Shelby Stinnett stole the show in the circle last week as they both picked up a pair of wins. Jutson began her week with a win in relief against Evansville, tossing 6.1 innings of shutout ball while surrendering just two hits and a walk. She kept things going on Saturday by throwing a complete-game shutout while giving up six hits with a walk and five strikeouts.

Stinnett meanwhile hurled her second complete-game shutout of the season on Wednesday, scattering six hits over her seven innings of work. The sophomore then completed the duo's magnificent four-game stretch with another complete game victory in Sunday’s 6-4 win over ULM.

Live stats will be available for each game of the doubleheader and can be accessed here. 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.

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