MT surrenders late-inning rally for 5-4 loss to USM
Blue Raiders finish series with Southern Miss 1-2March 16, 2014 · @MTAthletics
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Despite outhitting Southern Miss (13-14, 4-2 C-USA) 11-9 and committing no errors to the Golden Eagles' two, Middle Tennessee (6-22, 1-5 C-USA) lost 5-4 after allowing a three-run sixth inning Sunday. The loss concludes the three game series with Southern Miss, and Middle Tennessee has a quick turnaround, playing No. 2 Tennessee in Columbia, Tenn., Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Caitlin McClure started inside the circle Sunday, pitching the first 3.0 innings while allowing two earned runs with one strikeout. Yesterday's winning pitcher, Jordyn Fisherback (3-7), came in relief of McClure and pitched the remaining three innings, surrendering the three-run sixth to the Golden Eagles and earning the loss.
Freshman Austyn Whaley finished a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate with a triple, while Samantha Nieves tallied two hits (2-for-4) with a double. Kayla Toney accounted for two RBI while Laura Dukes and Marinna Shadley each added one.
LaRi Mitchell started the game for the Blue Raiders with a lead-off single and stole second, her 16th of the season. Samantha Nieves tagged a single through the right side, advancing Mitchell to third and then stealing second in Toney's at bat. With runners in scoring position, Toney hit a double to left center for MT's first two runs.
McClure held the Golden Eagles hitless for the second straight inning, which allowed MT to have a 2-0 lead heading into the third. Nieves started the inning by lacing a double to right center and two batters later scoring on a Dukes double down the right field line. USM got its first run on the board in the bottom of the third after a lead-off triple and the ensuing single by Selena Estrada.
With the 3-1 advantage, MT and McClure had a firm grasp of the game through three and half innings. Southern Miss took another hit at the MT lead in the fourth. Mackenzie Sher homered to left field on the second pitch of the at bat, pulling the Golden Eagles within one. Fisherback made her appearance following the Sher at bat, allowing no runs in the fourth and a scoreless fifth.
The sixth inning started off with some good fortunate for MT but it didn't last long. After a Whaley single, she advanced all the way to third base following a fielding error by the USM centerfielder. Shadley then came to the dish and hit a double to left field, plating Whaley for the Blue Raiders' 4-2 lead.
In the bottom half, USM opened the inning with a single to right field and then added its first run on a Samantha Robles single to right center. Two hitters later USM had two outs and runners on the corners. A double steal allowed both runners to be safe, plating the second run of the inning and tying the game at 4-all. Southern Miss added the go ahead run on a single to center by Nelson for the 5-4 lead, its first of the game.
The Blue Raiders went down with a ground out and strike out in their first two at bats of the seventh. Nina Dever hit a single through the left side for MT's lone base runner of the inning. One batter later, Middle Tennessee struck out for the second at bat of the inning and ended the attempt at the Blue Raider victory.
Southern Miss's Samantha Robles (4-5) earned the win after pitching a complete game, while allowing 11 hits with four earned but striking out five.
Middle Tennessee continues plays Tuesday against No. 2 Tennessee in Columbia, Tenn.
Friend of the Blue Raiders? Like us on Facebook and become part of the True Blue army today.
More Softball NewsJul 21, 2014: Three incoming MT players named All-State
Jun 27, 2014: Muñoz, Chocallo latest additions to 2014-15 recruiting class
Jun 11, 2014: Laura Dukes earns C-USA Spirit of Service award
May 19, 2014: Blue Raider Softball Field gaining indoor batting cages
May 8, 2014: Dukes, Nieves named to C-USA All-Academic Team
May 7, 2014: Dukes selected First-Team All-Conference USA