Grand slam lifts WKU over MT, 10-4
Nieves finishes day 2-for-4April 2, 2014 · MT Athletic Communications
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - Middle Tennessee (7-29) closed the gap with future Conference USA foe WKU (24-10-1) 5-4 in the top of the fourth inning before letting a game deciding grand slam take the momentum en route to a 10-4 defeat at the WKU Softball Complex Wednesday night.
LaRi Mitchell and Nina Dever each accounted for one RBI with Mitchell helping MT score its last run of the game and Dever providing a sacrifice fly in the first. Samantha Nieves finished 2-for-4 at the plate, while leading the team with three putouts.
Shelby Stinnett (2-12) tossed the first two innings and surrendered seven hits and five runs with four earned. Caitlin McClure pitched the next two innings and allowed four runs, while Jordyn Fisherback pitched the final two and surrendered one run.
"Western Kentucky is a good team and I thought we did a good job of coming out in the first inning and getting on their pitcher a little bit, scoring some runs," said Head Coach Jeff Breeden. "In the bottom half of the first we committed a couple of errors and let them back in the game with three runs but we came back in the second and answered."
Middle Tennessee opened the game by scoring two runs in the first, but fell behind in the bottom half after WKU put three runs on the board. The Blue Raiders scored another run in the second to tie the game at 3-all. The Hilltoppers again took back the lead after scoring two runs in the second.
Each side went scoreless in the third and MT scored one run in the fourth to close the gap to 5-4. To start the inning, Austyn Whaley hit a single that found the outfield and advanced to second on an error. Freshman Marinna Shadley hit into a ground out and advanced Whaley to third. Two batters later, Whaley scored for MT on a hard hit ball by Mitchell to the WKU shortstop.
To start the bottom of the fourth, WKU's Brooke Holloway flied out to center and back-to-back singles gave the Hilltoppers runners on first and second. After a fielder's choice that got the lead runner at third, WKU had two outs and received a walk to load the bases. Amanda Thomas battled with McClure and eventually lifted a deep blast past the center field fence. WKU held the 9-4 lead over MT through the fifth and added one more run in the sixth for the 10-4 final.
"There should be a decent crowd and some good weather," Breeden said about playing at home this weekend. "We would like to get back home and get a little home field advantage."
Middle Tennessee hosts Marshall for a three-game series at the Blue Raider Softball Field with a doubleheader scheduled for Saturday with a first pitch at 1 p.m.
Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.
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May 8, 2014: Dukes, Nieves named to C-USA All-Academic Team
May 7, 2014: Dukes selected First-Team All-Conference USA