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MT Rallies in the Seventh for 6-5 Win Over NM State

MT Rallies in the Seventh for 6-5 Win Over NM State

Posted on 11 March 2015 by Allen

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The Middle Tennessee softball team (10-8) scored five runs in the seventh inning to rally for a thrilling 6-5 victory over New Mexico State Tuesday afternoon, snapping NM State’s 10-game win streak.

With the win, the Blue Raiders have matched last season’s win total, and also ended a four-game slide against NM State (18-8).

It was the fourth time this season MT has come back from being down by three runs or more.

Junior Kiarra Freeman and freshman Morgan Harris combined for a 5-for-7 showing and four RBIs, including two clutch hits in the final inning. Freeman paced the offense as she tied her career-high with three hits and a career-best two RBIs.

Sophomores Austyn Whaley and Lauren Riddell also came through as each posted an RBI in the seventh frame. Riddell finished with a hit and Whaley was 2-for-4 from the dish and has tallied a hit in the past four games.

Freshman Cor’Nisha Birdsong tallied two hits while juniors Megan Griffith and Carlie Jenkins recorded a hit as well.

Down 5-3 after Riddell and Whaley both hit RBI singles to cut the deficit to two, Harris stepped up with the bases loaded and one out as she plated two runners with a single to center field to tie the game at 5-apiece.

In the ensuing at-bat, Freeman’s two-out RBI single to second base drove in sophomore pinch runner Marinna Shadley for the winning run.

“Our kids kept the faith and stayed the course through the entire game”, said head coach Jeff Breeden. “This was an awesome win for our players and softball families.”

NM State struck first in the bottom of the first frame with a two-run homer that gave the Aggies a 2-0 advantage before the Blue Raiders cut the deficit to one, 2-1, in the top of the second frame. NMSU added two more runs in the second and one more in the third for its final score to take a 5-1 lead.

MT had several opportunities early in the contest while loading the bases on multiple occasions, but it wasn’t until the final inning that the Blue Raider took advantage when threatening to score.

Junior right-hander Kelci Cheney improved to 6-5 on the year as she pitched the final two innings to allow just one hit. Sophomore Megan Chocallo came in for 3.1 innings of solid work as the right-hander allowed one run and scattered four hits.

Cheney and Chocallo slowed down the Aggie lineup allowing just five hits and a run over the last 5.1 innings of the game after NM State scored its first four runs in the opening 1.2 innings. Senior Caitlin McClure started but didn’t factor into the decision while allowing four runs on four hits. NM State came into the game averaging over nine runs over the winning streak.

“The fact that we have beaten an ACC and a WAC school tells me our kids are moving in the right direction,” said Breeden. ” We just have to keep getting better every day and stay the course.”

The Blue Raiders will look to build off the big win this weekend in their conference home opener against FIU on Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m., at Blue Raider Softball Field.

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Lady Raiders top Cumberland

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Lady Raiders top Cumberland

Posted on 26 September 2014 by Allen

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Middle Tennessee softball enjoyed a successful night at the ballpark in the home opener of the fall season, defeating the Cumberland Bulldogs by a score of 8-0 after five innings.

The scoring began in the first inning for the Blue Raiders, as Alma Cortez scored on a wild pitch. Later in the inning, Lauren Riddell grounded out for out number two, but Danielle Munoz scored from third on the play.

The second inning had Cumberland going down in order thanks to two strikeouts in the inning by the pitcher, Megan Chocallo.

The fourth inning was the biggest for the Blue Raiders. Randi Cookus came around to score as Morgan Harris hit an RBI double to left field. Cortez lined one into the right center gap, which scored Harris from third and pinch-runner Marinna Shadley from second. A couple batters later, Munoz grounded out but plated Cortez. The very next at-bat, Riddell hit a double, scoring Birdsong and making it 8-0. MT boasted five runs on five hits in the fourth inning.

The fifth inning was scoreless for both teams, which made the score 8-0 in favor of the Blue Raiders after regular play. The teams then proceeded to play five more innings of situational play where the Blue Raiders outscored the Bulldogs 8-4.

The fall season will continue for MT on Saturday, September 27 at Columbia State. The Blue Raiders’ next home game will be on October 8 against Trevecca at 6 p.m.

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Laura Dukes earns C-USA Spirit of Service award

Laura Dukes earns C-USA Spirit of Service award

Posted on 11 June 2014 by Allen

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Middle Tennessee junior softball player Laura Dukes was one of 16 student-athletes in Conference USA to earn the spring C-USA Spirit of Service award on Wednesday.

Dukes was one of four players to start all 55 games for the Blue Raiders in 2014 and managed not to miss a single pitch at the catcher position, while leading the team in eight offensive categories. The New Market, Tennessee native also set Middle Tennessee single-season records in walks (34) and on-base percentage (.505).

In the classroom, Dukes has maintained a 3.81 GPA in organizational communication and has been named to the commissioner’s list three consecutive years. She also was selected to the C-USA All-Academic team and was the first Blue Raider selected to the CoSIDA Academic All-District first-team since Muriel Ledbetter in 2006.

The junior catcher has also been an active member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in her three years at Middle Tennessee. Recently she joined with other Blue Raider student-athletes and coaches to serve in the Dominican Republic. In the local community, Dukes volunteers with the Rutherford Country Special Olympics, the Diabetes Walkathon, the Discovery Center and reads to children at Scales Elementary.

The C-USA Spirit of Service Award is designed to recognize the community service efforts of the league’s student-athletes, which is based upon significant community service, good academic standing and participation in their elected sport. The Spirit of Service award is presented three times throughout the year with today’s honorees representing Conference USA’s spring sports: baseball, golf, women’s rowing, softball, tennis and outdoor track and field.

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Dukes selected First-Team All-Conference USA

Dukes selected First-Team All-Conference USA

Posted on 07 May 2014 by Allen

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Laura Dukes added another recognition to her successful 2014 season, garnering First-Team All-Conference USA as announced by the conference office today.

The junior catcher started all 55 games for Middle Tennessee, while she led the team in batting average (.362), hits (55), doubles (17), RBI (33), slugging percentage (.592), walks (34) and on-base percentage (.505). Dukes also set new Middle Tennessee single-season records in walks and on-base percentage.

The New Market, Tennessee native also led MT in C-USA action, totaling a .431 batting average with 10 doubles, 17 RBI and 15 walks. Dukes finished third in C-USA in walks per game, second in doubles per game and third in on-base percentage.

“Laura had a great year for us and led us in almost every offensive category,” said head coach Jeff Breeden. “She is a leader behind the plate and caught all 55 games, not missing a single pitch. There were a couple times this year she could have come out after being injured, but she battled through and that is a testament to her leadership. It is a great honor for her and a great honor for our team to have a first team all-conference selection once again.”

Dukes becomes the latest first-team selection for MT, after Kayla Toney picked up All-Sun Belt Conference honors in 2012. Nina Dever was an All-Sun Belt second team selection last season.

2014 Conference USA Softball Specialty Awards
Pitcher of the Year: Aimee Creger, Tulsa
Player of the Year: Jill Barrett, Tulsa
Freshman of the Year: Stephanie Texeira, FIU
Newcomer of the Year: Kat Strunk, North Texas
Coach of the Year: John Bargfeldt, Tulsa

First-Team All-Conference USA
C – Laura Dukes, Middle Tennessee
IF – Brooke Foster, North Texas
IF – Jill Barrett, Tulsa
IF – Julie Kernen, Tulsa
IF – Megan Low, UTSA
OF – Christina Martinez, Florida Atlantic
OF – Haley Henshaw, Tulsa
OF – Erika Arcuri, UTEP
DP – Jori Fox, UTSA
UT – Kristen McGrath, UAB
P – Aimee Creger, Tulsa
P – Leigh Streetman, UAB

Second-Team All-Conference USA
C – Abby Wynne, East Carolina
IF – Kristi Oshiro, East Carolina
IF – Stephanie Texeira, FIU
IF – Shaelynn Braxton, Marshall
IF – Caitlin Attfield, UAB
OF – Shelby Johnson, East Carolina
OF – Chelsea Kaluhiokalani-Glackin, East Carolina
OF – Kat Strunk, North Texas
DP – Jill Roye, Tulsa
UT – Spencer Ferrell, North Texas
P – Samantha Messer, Florida Atlantic
P – Ashley Kirk, North Texas

Conference USA All-Freshman Team
Stephanie Texeira, FIU
Gabby Spallone, FIU
Kylee Hanson, Florida Atlantic
Amanda Wilson, Florida Atlantic
Pauline Tufi, Louisiana Tech
Jordan Dixon, Marshall
Morgan Zerkle, Marshall
Jill Roye, Tulsa
Maggie Withee, Tulsa
Mary Warren, UAB
Danii Fernandez, UAB

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Dukes named Capital One Academic All-District

Dukes named Capital One Academic All-District

Posted on 01 May 2014 by Allen


Laura Dukes was named to the Capital One Academic District Three First Team as announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) on Thursday.

Dukes, a native of New Market, Tenn., owns a 3.81 GPA as an organizational communications major. She has also previously been named a 2014 Conference USA Academic Medal winner and a 2013 NFCA All-Academic Scholar along with being named to the 2013 and 2012 Sun Belt Conference Commissioner’s list. Dukes becomes the first Blue Raider since Lindsey Vander Lugt’s second-team selection to be named CoSIDA Academic All-District and the first since Muriel Ledbetter in 2006 to garner a first-team selection.

The junior catcher leads Middle Tennessee in batting average (.368), hits (50), walks (33), doubles (16) and on-base percentage (.520). Dukes recently set the MT single-season walks record after recording three walks against No. 16 Tulsa. She is also tied for the team lead with 30 RBI, while ranking second with five home runs.

Dukes now moves to the next stage of the CoSIDA Academic All-America® ballot, which will feature a national ballot with the first-team selections from each district.

District 3 Winners
NCAA Division I
Catcher -Laura Dukes (Middle Tennessee)
Infield-Madison Shipman (Tennessee)
Infield-Megan Robinson (Liberty)
Infield-Shaela Churchill (Campbell)
Infield-Taylor Sigmon (Western Carolina)
Outfield-Kirsten Grant (N.C. State)
Outfield-Rainey Gaffin (Tennessee)
Outfield-Stephanie Harris (Virginia)
Outfield-Kelsey Cartwright (Lipscomb)
Pitcher-Ellen Renfroe (Tennessee)
Pitcher-Erin Gabriel (Tennesee)
Designated Player-Nicole Thomas (UNC-Greensboro)

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MTSU drops contest to No. 15 Tulsa, 9-4

MTSU drops contest to No. 15 Tulsa, 9-4

Posted on 28 April 2014 by Allen


Laura Dukes led Middle Tennessee (8-42, 2-18 C-USA) with three RBI in a 9-4 loss to No. 15 Tulsa (45-5, 18-2 C-USA), concluding the last Conference USA road series of 2014 at the Collins Family Softball Complex Sunday.

Dukes led the efforts for the Blue Raiders, finishing 1-for-2 with two walks and a home run. Dukes’ walk in the fourth inning broke the Middle Tennessee single-season walks mark, which was previously set by Muriel Ledbetter in 2006. McKena Miller, LaRi Mitchell and Samantha Nieves each tallied a hit in the defeat, while Miller notched her 10th RBI of the season.

The Blue Raiders opened the contest with a Mitchell walk, one of six for Middle Tennessee on the day. Two batters later, Mitchell ended up on third with two outs. Dukes tagged her fifth home run of the season and 16th of her career over the right field fence for the two-run lead.

Tulsa responded by plating five runs against starting MT pitcher Shelby Stinnett (3-15). The Golden Hurricane tagged five hits in the inning, which included three doubles. TU added two runs in the third inning and two runs in the fifth to put the Blue Raiders at the 9-2 deficit and on the brink of its second shortened contest in the series.

Neither side scored in the sixth and Middle Tennessee found its offensive rhythm against Tulsa relief pitcher Bailey Erwin. Down to three outs, MT loaded the bases after a Kayla Toney walk. Dukes then earned her second free pass of the day, which scored MT’s first run of the inning. Miller proceeded to hit into a fielder’s choice but all MT runners were called safe, scoring the final run of the game. A pop up in the next at bat ended the rally attempt for the Blue Raiders.

Stinnett earned the loss after pitching three innings and allowing seven earned runs. Caitlin McClure pitched in relief, holding TU to two runs on four hits with one strikeout. Freshman Austyn Whaley extended her reached-base streak to 18 games after receiving a walk in the fourth inning.

Middle Tennessee continues competition May 1 with a doubleheader at Belmont with a 3:30 p.m. slated first pitch.

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MTSU Softball adds Griffith to 2014-15 Class

MTSU Softball adds Griffith to 2014-15 Class

Posted on 24 April 2014 by Allen

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The Middle Tennessee softball program and head coach Jeff Breeden have added Megan Griffith to the 2014-15 recruiting class Thursday.

Griffith joins five others members of the 2014-15 recruiting class and is the second junior college transfer in the group, joining Indian River State College’s Alexandra Ortiz.

Megan Griffith

Position: Shortstop Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Griffith, a right-handed power-hitting shortstop, comes to Middle Tennessee from Gulf Coast State College (Panama City, Fla.), where she led the team in doubles (11), home runs (11), slugging percentage (.591) and RBI (57). The sophomore played in 55 games, tallying a .344 average and also led the team with 110 total bases and 23 extra base hits. Against Chattahoochee Valley Community College Feb. 22, 2014, Griffith tallied eight RBI after finishing 3-for-3 with a double and two home runs.

Prior to GCSC, Griffith played her 2012 campaign at McNeese State. She made an appearance in 20 games with one start, while hitting .273 with one home run. The 2012 team finished 34-21 and 12-8 in the Southland Conference before losing in the conference tournament.

At Science Hill High in Erwin, Tenn., she was a four-year letter winner in softball and a three-time Big 8 All-Conference Player of the Year. Griffith also was named to the All-Northeast Tennessee Team four times.

Breeden on Griffith:
“We are extremely fortune to have Megan come here. She is going to bring a powerful bat and previous collegiate playing experience to our team. She should come in to be a leader from day one.”

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WKU Softball Defeats Middle Tennessee 4-2 in Eight Innings

WKU Softball Defeats Middle Tennessee 4-2 in Eight Innings

Posted on 16 April 2014 by Allen

WKU Softball

The Western Kentucky University softball team (29-14-1) forced extra innings after tying the game in the seventh to leave Murfreesboro with a 4-2 win in eight innings against Middle Tennessee (7-37) on Wednesday.

WKU has played in three extra-inning games this season, winning all three. The team hasn’t lost an extra-inning contest since the 2012 season, falling to South Alabama at the Sun Belt Conference Tournament in eight. Since then, WKU is 5-0 in extra innings.

Freshman Hannah Miniard went 5.2 innings, holding MT scoreless through five before giving up two runs in the sixth. Miniard had six hits against her and five strikeouts before junior Janna Scheff (2-0) came in during the sixth to take the win. Scheff held MT scoreless while giving up two hits. MT’s Jordyn Fisherback (3-12) took the loss after going the final three innings with three runs, two earned, on four hits to her name.

WKU totaled seven hits in the game with junior Jacqueline McGill and sophomore Brooke Holloway totaling two each. The Blue Raiders’ pitchers handed out seven walks with senior Kelsie Mattox taking three of them and junior Preslie Cruce with a pair of walks.

After being scoreless through four innings, WKU took a 1-0 lead in the fifth after sophomores Bethany Oglesby and Holloway hit back-to-back singles to open the frame. With Oglesby on third after an error and Holloway at second after a steal, a walk to senior Olivia Watkins loaded the bases with no outs. A pair of forceouts to home put two outs on the board before a walk to Mattox added the run.

MT would take over the lead in the bottom sixth, as a two-out, two-run home run by Laura Dukes put the Blue Raiders on the board. LaRi Mitchell would add the other run, as she was walked to start the inning.

The Lady Toppers tied the ballgame when they needed to, making it a 2-2 contest in the top seventh. Holloway reached on an error before making her way to third on another Blue Raider error. The Texas native would come home on a hit by Cruce.

In the eighth inning, WKU opened the frame with Scheff and McGill putting down singles to get runners on base. With one out, a Holloway single loaded the bases, as an error would allow McGill to score in the next at-bat. Cruce then hit a RBI single to left center to bring in Oglesby for the game’s final run.

WKU is back in action on Friday, April 18, as the team travels to San Marcos, Texas, to face Sun Belt Conference newcomer Texas State. Friday’s doubleheader begins at 4 p.m. CT while Saturday will conclude the series with a noon CT first pitch.

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TSWA honors MTSU’s Dukes

TSWA honors MTSU’s Dukes

Posted on 26 March 2014 by Allen

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Laura Dukes garnered Tennessee Sports Writers Association Softball Player of the Week honors after her 9-for-9 performance through March 17-23.

Dukes led the Blue Raiders offensively throughout last week’s action, recording four doubles, one home run, six RBI and six walks. Against then-No. 3 Tennessee, Dukes finished 1-for-1 with two RBI and three walks. Lady Vols top pitcher Ellen Renfroe surrendered eight earned runs to Middle Tennessee in the March 18 matchup in Columbia, Tenn. Dukes tallied a two-run blast against Renfroe in the fourth inning.

In the LA Tech series March 22-23, Dukes finished 8-for-8 and helped Middle Tennessee to its second Conference USA win of 2014. She notched two RBI on 3-for-3 hitting in game one of the doubleheader Saturday and laced two doubles in the second half of the twin bill, while again going 3-for-3.

In the 5-3 MT victory over LA Tech Sunday, Dukes finished 2-for-2 with two RBI and two walks, elevating her season batting average to .407. She leads the team in doubles with 13 and is second on the team with 18 RBI and 54 total bases.

Middle Tennessee plays a non-conference contest against Jacksonville State today at 4 p.m. before traveling to Charlotte for a three-game series with the 49ers March 29-30.

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MTSU surrenders late-inning rally for 5-4 loss to USM

MTSU surrenders late-inning rally for 5-4 loss to USM

Posted on 16 March 2014 by Allen

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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 leadoff 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 leadoff 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.

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MTSU Softball wins first C-USA game with split at Southern Miss

MTSU Softball wins first C-USA game with split at Southern Miss

Posted on 15 March 2014 by Allen


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 Laureen 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 homerun 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 the 3-2.

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 leadoff 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 outhit Southern Miss 16-9, with both team 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 scored 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 to the Golden Eagles. The sixth inning was the one blemish on McClure’s day as she surrendered five runs to USM 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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North Texas tops MTU 11-5

North Texas tops MTU 11-5

Posted on 09 March 2014 by Allen


The North Texas (16-5, 3-0 C-USA) offense scored a series-best 11 runs to stop Middle Tennessee’s (5-20, 0-3 C-USA) attempt at avoiding the three-game sweep Sunday, beating the Blue Raiders 11-5 at the Blue Raider Softball Field.

Five MT hitters accounted for the six hits the Blue Raiders produced Sunday with freshman McKena Miller finishing a team-best 2-for-3 at the plate with one RBI. Kayla Toney tallied her lone hit on a two-run homerun in the third inning to score the Blue Raiders first runs of the day. Shelby Stinnett (1-10) received the start and pitched a total of 5.0 innings while surrendering four earned runs with five walks.

The Mean Green offense went down scoreless in the top of the first and MT followed suit in the bottom half. To start the second, Taylor Schoblocher needed one pitch to put NT ahead, lifting a solo shot over the left field fence. Two batters later North Texas added another run on a Jamie Miller triple to right center that scooted all the way to the fence.

The Mean Green scored their largest inning of the three-game series in the top of the third, plating five runs on only three hits. The last two runs of the inning came on a Spencer Ferrell single up the middle. With only one out NT still had a chance to plate more, but Stinnett forced a line out and a pop up for out two and three, respectively.

With North Texas holding the 7-0 lead, the Blue Raiders needed a spark and Toney delivered. After a opening ground out and a Samantha Nieves walk, Toney lifted her 18th career homerun down the right field line. Toney’s homerun moves her into fourth on the Middle Tennessee career homerun list.

Each side went scoreless in the fourth and fifth innings and North Texas scored two more runs in the top of the sixth to push the advantage to 9-2. In the bottom half, MT had its best change to make a dent in the Mean Green lead. Four batters into the inning, Taylor Lee hit a slow-rolling single to the first baseman, which loaded the bases for the Blue Raiders. Austyn Whaley came to the plate next and earned the walk for run number one. Nina Dever then laced a single up the middle, which scored Cheyenne Willis from third. Miller capped off the Blue Raiders’ scoring on a fielder’s choice to the shortstop one batter later.

The Mean Green scored two more runs in the seventh to create the final 11-5 score. The Blue Raiders finished the contest with four errors, while North Texas committed only one. Ashley Kirk (10-2) earned her second win of the series after throwing the first four innings, while allowing two earned runs with five strikeouts.

Middle Tennessee will continue play March 15-16, traveling to Hattiesburg, Miss., to play Southern Miss in another three-game C-USA series.

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North Texas takes two from MTSU Softball

North Texas takes two from MTSU Softball

Posted on 08 March 2014 by Allen


North Texas (15-5) handed Middle Tennessee (5-19) its first two losses in Conference USA action 5-1 and 8-1 at the Blue Raider Softball Field Saturday.

In a sluggish offensive day for the Blue Raiders, Laura Dukes and Samantha Nieves each tallied three hits with Dukes going 3-for-6 and Nieves 3-for-8. McKena Miller (2-for-4), LaRI Mitchell (2-for-7) and Kayla Toney (2-for-7) each tallied multiple hits for MT in the doubleheader.

In the first game of the day, NT took the 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a single down the right field line by Jordan Terry. Each side went scoreless in the second and Jordyn Fisherback (2-6) again held North Texas scoreless in the top of the third.

Nina Dever led off the bottom of the third with a single through the left side and two batters later found herself charging towards home on a Samantha Nieves single to left field. The throw from the NT left fielder missed the mark and allowed Dever to safely slide in for MT’s lone run of the game.

Fisherback and NT’s Ashley Kirk each pitched a scoreless fourth and fifth, holding the opposing team to two hits and one hit , respectively. Three batters into the sixth, North Texas had runners on first and second. Brooke Foster came to the dish and hit a line drive homerun to dead center to help the Mean Green take the 4-1 lead.

With the wind out of the Blue Raiders sails, Kirk shutdown MT in the next two innings and North Texas added a final run in the top of the seventh on a single to center. Fisherback received the loss, pitching the full 7.0 innings while surrendering 11 hits with one strikeout.

In the second game of the double-dip, the Mean Green scored in the first four innings to take the commanding 6-0 lead. Starting Middle Tennessee pitcher Shelby Stinnett (1-9) pitched the first 1.2 innings and allowed four runs on NT’s five hits, while Caitlin McClure finished the last 5.1 innings and also surrendered four runs.

North Texas had its largest inning of the game in the second, scoring three runs with two coming on a Foster double to left center. To start the third inning Schoblocher hit a solo shot to right field, placing the score at 5-0 NT, before the Mean Green plated one more on a Dani Hoff double in the fifth.

With the 6-0 lead, NT scored two more in the top of the sixth and forced the Blue Raiders to avoid the early 8-0 defeat. After an opening out, three straight singles had the bases loaded for Middle Tennessee. Cheyenne Willis then hit into a fielder’s choice, which scored Nieves from third.

Each side went scoreless in the seventh and Miller and Mitchell each hit singles, attempting to provide the late inning rally against the Mean Green’s Lauren Poole to no avail. Poole pitched the complete game and allowed nine hits with two strikeouts.

Middle Tennessee concludes the three-game series with C-USA foe North Texas tomorrow at noon.

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MTSU drops two in Eagle Classic on Sunday

MTSU drops two in Eagle Classic on Sunday

Posted on 02 March 2014 by Allen


Middle Tennessee (5-17) lost its last two games of the Eagle Classic 5-2 and 5-1 to Troy (9-9-2) and Tennessee State (6-13), respectively. The Blue Raiders finished the tournament 0-5 for the second time in 2014, with the Frost Classic Feb. 21-23 the other.

Samantha Nieves led the Blue Raiders at the plate on Sunday, hitting 4-for-6 with one walk. Nina Dever finished 3-for-6 with a double and a RBI, while Kayla Toney also tallied three hits (3-for-6) with a double and two RBI.

In the first game against Troy, the Trojans scored one run in the first and Becca Hartley lifted a two-run shot to left to command the 3-0 lead over the Blue Raiders. Middle Tennessee scored one run in the bottom of the second on a Dever double and another in the fifth a Toney single to right, which closed the gap to 3-2.

Both sides went scoreless in the sixth and Troy’s Michelle Phelps hit a two-run home run in the seventh to provide the final 5-2 score. Middle Tennessee proceeded to go down 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the seventh to close out the first game Sunday.

Caitlin McClure (2-4) pitched the full 7.0 innings and held the Trojans to four hits, but surrendered two game-deciding home runs and five walks. McClure also tossed four strikeouts, which ties her season-high set against Kennesaw State Feb. 7 and Florida A&M Feb. 16.

The second game of the day against Tennessee State produced the same results for Middle Tennessee. TSU scored a run in the top of the first on a sacrifice fly and another run in the third on a single to right field by Rebekka Gross. To start the fourth, TSU opened the inning with a walk and two batters later had runners on first and second. The next batter singled to the outfield, plating two runs to give TSU the 4-0 lead.

Middle Tennessee loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth after a single by Nieves, Dever and McKena Miller. With one out Toney received a walk, which gave MT its lone run.

Tennessee State added another run in the sixth inning after a Middle Tennessee fielding error that allowed the runner from second to score.

Shelby Stinnett (1-8) pitched a complete game with four strikeouts, while surrendering 10 hits and two walks. TSU’s Olivia Gamache earned the win after throwing the first 5.0 innings with four strikeouts and one earned run.

Middle Tennessee hosts Conference USA foe North Texas March 8-9 for a three game series, with a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. Saturday and a single game at noon on Sunday.

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