Miners beat Raiders, 5-3 and 13-2

Mitchell finishes 3-for-7

April 12, 2014 · @MTAthletics

EL PASO, Texas - Middle Tennessee (7-35, 2-14 C-USA) lost a pair of games to Conference USA foe UTEP (14-27, 7-8 C-USA), 5-3 and 13-2, Saturday.

Middle Tennessee tallied six hits in the doubleheader, with three (3-for-7) coming from leadoff hitter LaRi Mitchell. Laura Dukes and Kayla Toney each notched two and one hit, respectively. Dukes also tallied a double and a walk, her 29th of the season, and finished 2-for-5 with one RBI. Nina Dever accounted for the only other Blue Raider RBI.

Shelby Stinnett started the first contest, throwing five and two-thirds innings and allowing five runs with four earned and a strikeout. Stinnett (2-14) earned the loss after allowing a three-run inning to the Miners in the fifth. Junior Caitlin McClure came in relief of Stinnett in game one, pitching the final one-third inning for MT and also earned the start in the second game.

McClure tossed the first one and one-third inning, while allowing seven runs with six earned. Stinnett again returned to pitch for MT but only tossed one-third of an inning and surrendered five runs with two earned. Jordyn Fisherback pitched the final two and one-third innings and allowed one run with two walks and one strikeout.

In the first contest, the Blue Raiders put the first run on the board thanks to a wild pitch by the UTEP pitcher, which allowed Mitchell to score from third. The Miners answered, scoring one in the bottom half before each side went scoreless in the second. MT added its second run of the game in the third when Toney hit an infield single and Dukes followed with a double down the right field line. With runners at second and third, Nina Dever advanced the runners and plated Toney.

After holding UTEP scoreless in the third and fourth, the Miner attack opened up in the fifth. Back-to-back singles by UTEP and a sacrifice bunt allowed runners on second and third with one out. Ashley Eldridge then lifted the Stinnett pitch over the right field fence to put the Miners up 4-2. UTEP added one more run in the sixth to put its advantage up to 5-2.

In the seventh inning, two errors by UTEP put runners on first and third with only one out. Dukes slapped a single to left field, plating Mitchell from third. A fly ball and a strike out ended the inning for Middle Tennessee, concluding the first game 5-3.

In the second game, Mitchell again found success against the UTEP pitching staff and defense. Mitchell finished 2-for-3 in the contest and plated both of Middle Tennessee's runs. MT again jumped out to an early 1-0 lead against the Miners. Mitchell led off with a single through the left side and stole second. Two batters later Mitchell scored on an error by the Miner third baseman.

After being held scoreless in the bottom of the first, UTEP's offense came alive in the second. The Miners accounted for 13 runs on 15 hits with four home runs, the largest offensive output by an opposing team in 2014.

MT received its second and last run of the contest in the third inning. Mitchell started the inning with a leadoff single to left field and again stole second, her 21st stolen base of the season. Toney again reached base on an error by a UTEP infielder and scored Mitchell in the process.

Middle Tennessee and UTEP conclude play with a single game tomorrow, slated for a 1 p.m. (CST) start.

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