Softball suffers pair of one-run defeats

MT falls to South Alabama 3-2 and 4-3

March 31, 2012 · Athletic Communications

MOBILE, Ala. -- A two-run bottom of the seventh gave South Alabama a 4-3 Game 2 victory, capping a tough day that saw the Blue Raiders drop a pair of one-run contests.

Needing a run to tie the game and two to win, Alyssa Linn and Brittany Fowler recorded consecutive singles to lead off the bottom of the seventh for the Jaguars. Meghan Collins’ infield single then scored Linn to tie the game at 3-3. Christin Crocker followed by laying down a bunt to advance the runners to second and third with one out. Julie Moss proceeded with a grounder to shortstop Samantha Nieves whose throw home was too late to get Fowler, giving the Jaguars a 4-3 victory.

After both teams went scoreless in the first, Crocker led off the bottom of the second with a solo home run to give South Alabama a 1-0 lead.

Middle Tennessee starter Shelby Stinnett and Jaguar hurler Katy Neal put up zeros in the third and fourth innings as the game went to the top of the fifth with the Jaguars still maintaining a 1-0 advantage.

The Blue Raiders then tallied a pair of runs to take a 2-1 lead in the top of the fifth. Chelsea Good led off the frame with a single and advanced to second on Nieves’ sacrifice bunt. Kristi Marquez then laced a single to right-center field to tie the game at 1-1. Following a Nina Davenport ground out and a Kayla Toney walk, Nina Dever doubled to center field, scoring Marquez and giving Middle Tennessee a 2-1 lead.

After South Alabama tied the game with a run in the bottom of the fifth, the Blue Raiders retook the lead with a run of their own in the sixth. Kaycee Popham led off with a double and three batters later Nieves brought her home with a two-out run-scoring single up the middle to make it 3-2.

Stinnett pitched around a Jaguar leadoff single by Moss and a walk to Haley Richards in the bottom of the sixth to send the game to the final frame with the Blue Raiders leading 3-2.

Middle Tennessee was unable to extend its lead in the top half of the inning, setting up the South Alabama heroics in the bottom of the frame.

Stinnett took the loss for Middle Tennessee, pitching all 6.1 innings while allowing four earned runs. The win went to Farish Beard who relieved Neal in the sixth and did not allow a hit in 0.2 innings tossed.

Dever, Nieves and Marquez all notched RBIs to propel the Blue Raiders offensively. Fowler went 2-4 with an RBI to lead the Jaguars.

The Blue Raiders got on the board first in Game 1 when Kelsey Woodruff led off the top of the second with a double and was later brought home on a run-scoring single by Marquez.

South Alabama took the lead in the bottom of the third with two hits and a pair of Middle Tennessee errors. Run-scoring singles by Fowler and Collins sent the game to the fourth inning with the Jaguars holding a 2-1 lead.

The Blue Raiders threatened in the top of the fourth, loading the bases with one out. Davenport and Toney went down swinging, however, to end the frame.

South Alabama added a run in the sixth when Moss singled home Crocker to extend the Jaguar lead to 3-1.

Middle Tennessee did not go quietly in the seventh. Marquez led off with a single and later scored on a Dever two-out RBI infield single to cut the deficit to 3-2. Ysais kept the Blue Raiders’ hopes alive with a single to center field. With runners on first and second with two outs, Popham hit a solid shot to center field that unfortunately found the glove of the center fielder Campbell to end the game.

The Blue Raiders fell to 12-17 overall, 2-6 in the Sun Belt following the losses. South Alabama meanwhile upped its record to 21-9, 10-2.

Middle Tennessee starter Caty Jutson was the tough-luck loser as she pitched all six innings, surrendering just three runs (one earned) on six hits. Hannah Campbell went the distance for the Jaguars, giving up two earned runs while scattering nine hits.

Marquez led the Blue Raiders at the plate, going 3-3 with an RBI and a run scored. Collins also went 3-3 with a run driven in to pace South Alabama at the plate.

Fans are encouraged to follow the Blue Raiders via Facebook and Twitter during their road trip to Mobile. Behind-the-scenes pictures and videos will be uploaded to the sites throughout the weekend.

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.

Friend of the Blue Raiders? Like us on Facebook and become part of the True Blue army today.