Late-inning comeback dooms Blue Raiders

Campbell goes 2-for-3 in the loss

March 3, 2013 · @MTAthletics

AUBURN, Ala. - Middle Tennessee took an early lead into the sixth inning, but fell in extras, 8-6, to Charlotte at the War Eagle Classic on Sunday.

The Blue Raiders drop to 0-13 on the season while Charlotte improves to 8-5.

Freshman Niki Campbell was 2-for-3 on the day to lead the squad while Nina Dever picked up two RBI in a 1-for-4 performance. 

Jordyn Fisherback started the game and threw six total innings, striking out five and allowing four runs on 11 hits. Shelby Stinnett and Caitlin McClure combined to throw the other three innings, as McClure (0-3) took the loss after allowing three runs (one earned) on five hits. 

Kristi Marquez singled through the left side to start the bottom of the first, and MT loaded the bases as Kayla Toney reached on fielding error by Charlotte's Chelsea Ingersoll and Laura Dukes drew a walk. Marquez was thrown out at the plate when Samantha Nieves reached on a fielder's choice, but Dever hit a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Toney.

In the second, LaRi Mitchell reached on a throwing error by Ingersoll, and moved to second on Campbell's sacrifice bunt. With two outs, Marquez drove a double into center field and scored Mitchell.

The score remained 2-0 until the bottom of the fifth, when Marquez reached after being hit by a pitch and was pushed to second on Toney's sacrifice bunt. Dukes then singled through the left side and pushed Marquez to third. After Dukes advanced to second on Nieves' fly out, Dever singled to right field to drive Marquez home, but Dukes was thrown out at the plate to end the inning

From there, however, Charlotte came to life when the 49ers loaded the bases with no outs, and after Stinnett replaced Fisherback in the circle, scored three runs on Jessica Plemmons' double.

Middle Tennessee managed to load the bases with just one out in the sixth and seventh innings, but each threat ended with strikeouts swinging and looking.

With the international tie-breaker in effect in extra innings, Charlotte scored in its half of the eighth, putting Middle Tennessee in a must-score situation. 

Campbell was placed on second back to start the inning on second and Good bunted to push Campbell to third. With two outs, Toney doubled to center field and scored Campbell to tie the game, 4-4. Dukes drew her third walk of the game to continue the inning, but Nieves popped out to second to end the threat.

Charlotte scored four runs on six hits in the top of the ninth, forcing the Blue Raiders into another last-chance situation. 

With one out, Stassin doubled, scoring Nieves, and was then replaced by Lindsey Fenner on the base paths.  In the next at-bat, Chrissy Polka singled to center and picked up an RBI, but MT's offense failed to muster any more last-minute heroics.

The Blue Raiders open Sun Belt Conference play next week in their home opener, a double-header against Troy on Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for Noon.

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