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Whaley's two-run home run not enough against Memphis

Blue Raiders lose second game of the day in late innings

February 7, 2014 · @MTAthletics

TROY, Ala. - Freshman Austyn Whaley hit a two-run home run to tie the score in the sixth inning but the Memphis Tiger (2-0) offense was too much for the Middle Tennessee softball team (0-2), dropping a 3-2 decision to close out day one of the Troy Subway Invitational.

Junior Caitlin McClure started inside the circle for the Blue Raiders in game two after being designated the losing pitcher in a 14-12 battle with Kennesaw State earlier today. McClure found herself in some trouble early, after a single by Memphis' Lindsey Crowdus up the middle and a sacrifice bunt to advance Crowdus to second. Brittany Vaughn lifted a double to right center, plating Crowdus. Next up for the Tigers was Kelly Braman, who like Vaughn, laced a double which put Memphis up 2-0 early.

McClure pitched her way out of the first and capped the inning off by striking out the final Memphis' batter. She went on to hold the Tiger offense at bay for the next six innings before being pulled in favor of Shelby Stinnett in the seventh.

The Blue Raider offense that showed up in game one against Kennesaw State had troubles finding their rhythm in game two. Through five innings the Blue Raiders had amassed four hits and left six runners on the base paths with no runs scored.

Laura Dukes led off the sixth with a pop up to the Memphis' shortstop, putting the Raiders down quickly. Senior Nina Dever hit a single to left center on a 2-2 count and gave Middle Tennessee a runner at first. Freshman Marinna Shadley, who broke out in game one, flied out to left field. The Blue Raiders with two outs had freshman Austyn Whaley up to bat. Whaley hit a shot over left center, tying the score at 2-2.

After a quick final out by MT, it was Memphis' turn to take a stab at winning the game. McClure faced the first batter of the inning and gave up a single to left field, at which point Stinnett came in relief. The Tigers used small-ball tactics and advanced the runner to second on a sacrifice bunt.

Memphis went to its bench and used a pinch hitter, who ground out to the second baseman and advanced the runner to third. The Tigers' Ijiah Hargrove hit a single to left, giving Memphis the 3-2 advantage.

The Blue Raiders fought in the bottom of the seventh to muster up one run but could not find the right mix. After calling on LaRi Mitchell to pinch hit, she got the pass to first after being hit by the fourth pitch in her at bat. MT did not advance farther from first following a Kayla Toney fielder's choice and a Samantha Nieves pop up.

Shadley was the only Blue Raider to finish with multiple hits, finishing 2-for-3 at the plate. McClure was handed her second loss of the day after pitching six strong innings in game two, allowing three earned runs while striking out one.

Middle Tennessee moves to 0-2 on the young 2014 slate with two more games tomorrow against North Florida at 1:30 p.m. and No. 6/6 Alabama at 7:30 p.m. Live updates are available by following @MT_Softball on Twitter.

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.