Dukes' double powers softball to 3-2 victory over UIC

McClure earns first win of the season

February 15, 2014 · @MTAthletics

ORLANDO, Fla. - Laura Dukes hit a RBI-double in the bottom of the fifth inning to help Middle Tennessee (2-6) capture a 3-2 victory over Illinois-Chicago (1-8) Saturday Morning at the UCF/Holiday Inn Classic.

Caitlin McClure (1-3) received her first win of the season after pitching five strong innings while allowing only two earned runs. Shelby Stinnett pitched in relief, closing out the final two innings while allowing only one hit for her first save of the season.

Middle Tennessee plated two runs in the first inning, taking a lead that lasted until the fourth. Yesterday's offensive leader Kayla Toney led off and drew the opening walk to give the Blue Raiders a base runner with no outs. LaRi Mitchell reached base safely on the throwing error by the UIC third baseman, which allowed Toney to advance to second.

Mitchell stole second and setup Middle Tennessee's best offensive opportunity of the tournament thus far. With no outs, Samantha Nieves laid down a sacrifice bunt to the third baseman, which allowed Toney to score and Mitchell to advance to third. Next up was Laura Dukes, who received the walk to put runners at the corners. Cheyenne Willis hit a bunt single to the pitcher, scoring Mitchell from third.

UIC added one run in the top of the third and fourth to tie the score between the Flames and the Blue Raiders at 2-all heading into the fifth. McClure pitched her final inning of the day, shutting down UIC one last time to keep the Blue Raiders even.

Leading off in the bottom of the fifth was Nieves, who hit a single through the left side. Dukes then laced a double to left field, plating the go-ahead run.

Willis led the Blue Raiders at the plate, hitting 2-for-3 with one RBI. Middle Tennessee committed one error but forced the Illinois-Chicago defense to commit three.

Middle Tennessee continues play Saturday against Florida A&M at 3 p.m. (CT). Live stats are available by clicking here and updates are available by following @MT_Softball on Twitter.

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