Pitching, timely hitting key softball victory

Blue Raiders defeat UT-Martin 4-3

April 25, 2012 · Athletic Communications

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- Blue Raider starter Shelby Stinnett pitched a complete game while allowing just three earned runs and Natalie Ysais hit a two-run home run to help lead Middle Tennessee to a 4-3 win over UT-Martin on Wednesday afternoon at Blue Raider Field.

The Blue Raiders got on the scoreboard first with a two-run second inning. Kelsey Woodruff began the frame by reaching third base when UT-Martin center fielder Leah Taylor and right fielder Becca Williams miscommunicated on a routine fly ball, allowing the ball to fall to the ground and Woodruff to race all the way to third with none out. She then took home on a wild pitch to put Middle Tennessee up 1-0. The lead then went to 2-0 after Kayla Toney and Ysais tallied consecutive doubles.

The Skyhawks responded the very next inning with a pair of runs of their own. After loading the bases with one out, Jenny Bain singled to center to score Taylor and Stephanie Nidiffer and tie the game at 2-2.

UT-Martin took the lead its next at-bat on an Erica Duke run-scoring single to center to score Williams from second base and put the Skyhawks up 3-2.

This time it was Middle Tennessee that responded, however, in the bottom of the frame. Toney reached first base when she was hit by a Chelsea Jones pitch. Ysais followed with a two-run shot to straight-away center field, putting the Blue Raiders back in front 4-3.

UT-Martin recorded a hit in both the fifth and sixth innings, but Stinnett pitched around them in both frames as the game went to the seventh with Middle Tennessee holding on to a 4-3 advantage.

Following a Kenzi Tate groundout to begin the frame, Taylor notched a one-out triple off the right-center field fence to put the tying run at third with just one out. Stinnett then got Kayla Wade to line out to Kaycee Popham at first base before Nina Dever made the defensive play of the day at second base, making a diving stop and throwing out Bain at first to end the game with the Blue Raiders taking a 4-3 victory.

"This was an important win for us as we wanted to continue to build our momentum after last night's big victory," said Middle Tennessee head coach Sue Nevar. "We got a great pitching performance from Shelby Stinnett, our defense was sharp and we got the timely hitting we have been looking for."

Middle Tennessee upped its record to 15-30 following the win while the Skyhawks dropped to 33-16.

Stinnett was awarded the win as she tossed all seven innings, surrendering only three runs on eight hits. The loss was tagged to Jones who gave up four runs (two earned) over five innings.

Ysais was the offensive hero for the Blue Raiders with her fourth-inning two-run home run. Meanwhile Bain went 2-4 with a pair of RBIs to lead UT-Martin at the plate.

Middle Tennessee will take its winning streak on the road this weekend when the squad heads to meet Florida Atlantic in a pivotal three-game conference series beginning Saturday.

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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