MT set for first C-USA road trip

Blue Raiders look for first conference win against Southern Miss

March 14, 2014 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee softball team (5-20, 0-3 C-USA) travels to Hattiesburg, Miss., to play Conference USA foe Southern Miss (11-13, 2-1 C-USA) in a three-game series, March 15-16, at the Southern Miss Softball Complex.

The Blue Raiders recently played C-USA front runner North Texas March 8-9 and were swept by the Mean Green in the three-game match-up. The first day featured the first C-USA doubleheader of the season with North Texas taking games one and two 5-1 and 8-1, respectively.

In the final contest Sunday, MT scored five runs against the Mean Green, which was more than the last four games combined but fell to North Texas 11-5. Kayla Toney hit her fifth home run of the season and 18th of her career in the third inning, moving her into a tie with Melissa Weiland for fourth on the career home run list.

Toney is one of three Blue Raiders with a .300 batting average or better and is second on the team with a .345 average. She has a team-best 29 hits, 20 RBIs, five home runs and 51 total bases. Laura Dukes boasts a team-high .359 batting average and 16 walks, while tying Toney with seven doubles. LaRi Mitchell rounds out the crew with a .300 batting average, tallying 21 hits in 70 plate appearances with nine walks.

The Southern Miss Golden Eagles are riding a five-game winning streak coming into this weekend's play. The Eagles beat C-USA foe UTEP March 8-9, 8-6 and 11-7, respectively. USM also completed the sweep of Alcorn State, holding the Lady Braves scoreless in the three-game series 13-0 (5), 10-0 (5) and 8-0 (5) March 12-13.

Three Southern Miss' batters have tallied a .300 batting average or better, led by Sarah Evans .473 average. Evans has a team-high 26 hits, 18 RBI and 38 total bases. Katie Cleary (.386) and Meaghan Nelson (.378) round out the top three hitters and have recorded 14 and 10 RBI, respectively. Mackenzie Stringer is the fourth batter to have double-digit RBI with 10, while starting all 24 games.

In the circle, Shelbee Rodgers has led the Golden Eagles with a 7-5 record, which includes a team-high 12 starts with 84 strikeouts and a 4.31 ERA. Samantha Robles has made eight starts on the 2014 slate, winning three games while adding five losses with a 4.59 ERA.

The first game of the doubleheader Saturday is slated for a 1 p.m. first pitch. Live statistics are available by clicking here and follow @MT_Softball on Twitter for updates.

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