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Softball completes sweep, down UIC 3-2 and FAMU 6-5

Late-inning heroics save Blue Raiders

February 15, 2014 · @MTAthletics

ORLAND, Fla. - Middle Tennessee (3-6) used dramatic late inning performances to sweep two games Saturday over Illinois-Chicago (1-8) 3-2 and Florida A&M (1-6) 6-5. The Blue Raiders fell behind late in game two against FAMU but used a Samantha Nieves two-RBI double to plate the walk-off victory and conclude Saturday's games. 

Middle Tennessee opened the second day of the UCF/Holiday Inn Classic against UIC and jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on the Flames in the first inning. With no outs, Samantha Nieves laid down a sacrifice bunt to the third baseman, which allowed Kayla Toney to score and LaRi 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 at 2-all heading into the fifth. Caitlin 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.

McClure earned 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.

Game two came down to six outs for the Blue Raiders. MT held a 4-2 lead over Florida A&M with Stinnett pitching in the top of the seventh, needing only three outs to complete the sweep. Stinnett fanned the first batter but allowed back-to-back singles. With two runners on, Florida A&M's next batter sliced a triple to left center, plating two runs. The next batter hit a deep sacrifice fly to give the Rattlers' the 5-4 lead, their first of the game.

Now with their backs against the wall, the Blue Raiders needed one run to force extras and two to have the walk-off victory. After one out, Mckena Miller and Kayla Toney hit singles to left field and center field, respectively. LaRi Mitchell ground out to the FAMU second baseman, which allowed Toney and Miller to advance. Nieves then laced a two-out double down the right field line, producing the 6-5 walk-off victory.

Jordyn Fisherback received the start against the Rattlers and pitched 3.1 innings, while allowing two runs with one earned. Stinnett received her first win of the season after closing the final 3.2 innings, striking out four while giving up three earned runs.

Toney finished the day hitting 4-for7 with one RBI, including 3-for-4 against UIC, while Willis hit 3-for-5 with two RBI. Nieves led the Blue Raiders with four RBI through the two games.

Middle Tennessee finishes the tournament tomorrow against Florida A&M at 10:30 a.m. (CT). Live stats are available by clicking here and updates by following @MT_Softball on Twitter.

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