Softball hosts North Texas in weekend series

Alumni Day, Senior Day highlights weekend events

April 19, 2013 · @MTAthletics

This week's action
The Blue Raiders will host North Texas this weekend in a three-game Sun Belt Conference series, April 20-21. The series begins with a doubleheader on Saturday, beginning at 1 p.m. The series finale will be held at Noon on Sunday.

Last time out
After a rain-out at UT-Martin, MT returned home, only to be swept by No. 17 Kentucky. The Blue Raiders fought hard in Game 1, losing just 7-4. In Game 2, MT led 1-0 after the first, but would go quiet from there, as five UK home runs put the Wildcat's out of reach in a 13-1 game.

Series' history
These two teams have been relatively even through the first 30 games of the series, though the Blue Raiders lead, 16-14. North Texas swept last year's series in Denton, Tex.

Leading the way
Nina Dever has started all 44 games for the Blue Raiders, splitting her time between center field (38 games), second base (five) and shortstop (one). She leads the team in runs scored, with 18, getting on base and moving around productively. Additionally, she is tied for the team lead in hits (34) and doubles (seven).

The junior boasts a .971 fielding percentage, and has developed a knack as a run killer, throwing out an impressive seven runners at the plate from center field.

Game-by-game, the Blue Raiders' leader has hit safely in 28 of 44 games, including a 10-game hit streak from March 20 to April 10. She had four multi-hit games on the season, three of which came against SBC foes - Troy, Florida Atlantic and South Alabama. She had a three-run home run against USA, pushing her into a tie for No. 9 on the career home run record list.

Raiders Choice Awards nominees
Freshman Niki Campbell has been nominated for "Newcomer of the Year" at the Raider Choice Awards. Campbell is hitting .177 with four doubles on the year, but has made a significant impact on the defense. She has started 38 games (39 appearances) at first base this season, and leads the team in putouts (222) while racking up a .991 fielding percentage.

Sophomore Laura Dukes had limited playing time last year, but her offensive prowess earned her a nomination for "Most Improved Female Athlete" at the RCAs. Currently, Dukes is leading the team home runs (seven), RBI (17) and walks (21).

Hanging with the best
The Blue Raiders squared off with No. 17 Kentucky in a doubleheader earlier this week, and while they dropped both games, Middle Tennessee impressed in Game 1. MT trailed 2-1 heading into the seventh, but despite scoring three runs in the bottom half, lost the game 7-4.

RPI Update
Middle Tennessee, ranked 228th in the latest RPI standings, has faced seven teams with Top-50 RBI, including three in the Top-25: Kentucky (No. 7), South Alabama (No. 17) and Louisiana (No. 21). WKU, another Sun Belt Conference foe, has an RPI of 34, while tshis weekend's opponent, North Texas, is No. 84 in RPI.

Pouring it on
For Middle Tennessee, four players have at least four multi-hit games, as Laura Dukes leads the way with nine. Close behind, Samantha Nieves has racked up eight multi hit games, and Niki Campbell has six. Nina Dever, Kristi Marquez and LaRi Mitchell are the only Blue Raiders with three-hit ball games

MT on TV
The Blue Raider softball team will have three more local television appearances this spring thanks to a partnership between the athletic department and Middle Tennessee's student-run cable television network, MT10. Games that will be broadcasted (channel 10 locally on Comcast, channel 99 AT&T U-verse) are:
Apr. 24 Lipscomb (DH)
Apr. 25 Jacksonville State

Keeping up with the Blue Raiders
For the most up-to-date information on MT Softball, follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter at @MT_Softball or on Facebook at MTSU Softball. Schedule updates, scores and more will be posted on those pages.

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