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MT wins first C-USA game with split at Southern Miss

Blue Raiders take game two 6-3 in 11 innings

March 15, 2014 · @MTAthletics

HATTIESBURG, MISS. - A three-run inning in the 11th gave Middle Tennessee (6-21, 1-4 C-USA) the 6-3 victory in the second game of the doubleheader with Southern Miss (12-14, 3-2 C-USA) after dropping the first contest 9-2 at the Southern Miss Softball Complex Saturday.

The win snaps an eight-game losing streak that started Feb. 28 against Troy at the Georgia Southern Tournament. Also, the victory marks the first extra-inning win since April 25, 2013 against Jacksonville State, when the Blue Raiders won a 6-5 decision in nine innings.

"Our first C-USA win feels really good and our kids played hard," said Head Coach Jeff Breeden. "Jordyn [Fisherback] pitched lights out and gave us a chance. Our kids just hung around and we finally got a timely hit from freshman Lauren Riddell then Austyn Whaley hits a home run."

Jordyn Fisherback (3-6) pitched the full 11.0 innings with five strikeouts, setting a new career-high for innings pitched in the Blue Raiders first Conference USA win. Nina Dever (3-for-6), Austyn Whaley (3-for-6) and Marinna Shadley (3-for-5) each finished game two with three hits, while Whaley notched her second collegiate home run in the 11th inning.

Middle Tennessee jumped out to a 2-0 lead over USM in the first inning on a two-out double by Laura Dukes, who scored one batter later on a Nina Dever single down the right field line. Southern Miss scored one run in the bottom of the first and two in the fourth to then take a 3-2 lead.

Kayla Toney tagged a solo shot to right field in the fifth inning, which tied the game at 3-all. Each side went scoreless through the next five innings but Middle Tennessee had its chances, loading the bases in the ninth and 10th innings.

To start the 11th, Middle Tennessee was down two outs when Dever hit a single up the middle and Riddell slapped a double to left field to take the 4-3 advantage. Whaley came to the dish next and lifted a shot down the right field line for two more insurance runs for the Blue Raiders.

Fisherback allowed a lead-off double in the bottom half but got the next three USM batters to close out the extra-inning affair. Shelbee Rodgers earned the loss for Southern Miss (8-6), pitching the final 7.0 innings while giving up four earned runs with five walks and six strikeouts.

"This was a real team win," Breeden said. "We finally finished a game."

Middle Tennessee out-hit Southern Miss 16-9, with both teams committing two errors. Toney finished 2-for-3 at the plate while McKena Miller tallied two hits.

The first contest of the day was not as fortunate for Middle Tennessee. After Southern Miss scored three runs in the second inning, MT narrowed the score on a Samantha Nieves single through the right side, which plated Miller. USM added another run in the fourth to put the advantage back up to three.

In the fifth inning Nieves again hit an RBI single, which scored LaRi Mitchell. Caitlin McClure (2-6) held Middle Tennessee close to Southern Miss for five innings, allowing only four runs for the Golden Eagles. The sixth inning was the one blemish on McClure's day as she surrendered five runs for the 9-2 final.

Nieves led the Blue Raiders in game one, finishing 2-for-3 at the plate with both RBI. As a team, MT accounted for seven hits with two errors, while Southern Miss tallied 12 hits with no errors.

Middle Tennessee and Southern Miss conclude play tomorrow at 1 p.m.

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