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Walk-off sacrifice fly caps comeback win for Blue Raiders

Dukes goes 3-for-3, drives home winning run

April 25, 2013 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Blue Raider softball team put together a late rally in the seventh inning to tie the game before a sacrifice fly in the ninth clinched a 6-5 win over Jacksonville State on Thursday evening.

Middle Tennessee (6-44) snapped an 11-game losing streak with the victory, shocking JSU (25-23) after the Gamecocks allowed five hits in the bottom of the seventh.

Jordyn Fisherback started the game, but after allowing four runs in the first 2.1 innings, Shelby Stinnett (1-12) entered the game.  Stinnett threw the final 6.2 innings, allowing just one run and three hits. She retired nine straight Gamecock batters after entering the game.

Laura Dukes led the Blue Raider attack, finishing 3-for-3 with two RBI, including the game winning sacrifice fly.  LaRi Mitchell and Lindsey Fenner were each 2-for-4 in the game from the Nos. 6 and 7 spots in the lineup, respectively.

MT and JSU were scoreless until the top of the third, when the Blue Raiders fell behind 4-0.  From there, the teams went on a stretch of 3.5 innings without another run crossing the plate.

After the Gamecocks added one more run in their half of the seventh, a lead-off single by Chelsea Good sparked the historic comeback.  Good's single was the first of three straight, loading the bases before Niki Campbell reached on a fielder's choice as Good was thrown out at home.  

With one out, Nina Davenport grounded to third base, but a throwing error by Cara Longworth allowed Mitchell to score.  Samantha Nieves followed that error up by working a walk, picking up an RBI as Fenner came home.

Kayla Toney reached on a fielder's choice, bringing the score to 5-3 as Nieves was forced out at second - putting runners on the corners with two out.

Dukes then brought MT within one with a RBI-single, driving a 3-2 pitch into left field to push Davenport home and Toney to second.  After going 0-for-3 to start the game, Nina Dever proved her worth in the lineup with a clutch single to right field that scored Toney and placed Dukes on third.  

The comeback, however, would be stalled momentarily as Dukes was called out on an interference call after Good hit a chopper to Longworth.

With the international tie-breaker rule in effect, JSU had runners on third in the eighth and ninth inning, but strong pitching by Stinnett ended any hopes of a JSU run.

Davenport was placed on second base to start the ninth inning and moved to third on Nieves' single.  Kayla Toney was then walked, and with the bases loaded, Dukes drove a 1-2 pitch to left field just deep enough to score Davenport and clinch the comeback win.

MT will have the week off before battling Belmont on Thursday in the final home doubleheader of the year.  First-pitch for the game is scheduled for 1 p.m., and will be the second of two senior days for the Blue Raiders.  Kailey McDougald and Kristi Marquez will be honored pre-game.

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