TIGERS STUN MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE IN EXTRA INNINGS
NASHVILLE, Tenn.-The Tigers used a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to pick up a 5-4 win over Middle Tennessee State University at Tiger Field on Wednesday afternoon. Tennessee State improved to 32-20 and dropped MTSU to 24-24. The Blue Raiders took a 4-3 lead on a two-out double in the top of the eighth inning. The Tigers retaliated in the bottom half of the inning as freshman Bridget Metzger hit a ball up the middle to bring home sophomore Melanie Cruz from second base. Metzger would end up at second on the attempt to get Cruz at the plate. Junior Lauren Weber sacrificed to move Metzger to third and set up the final play of the game. Senior Diana Clifford fought off a two-strike pitch that slowly dribbled up the first base line. Metzger raced home as Clifford beat out the throw to first base and give TSU the 5-4 win. Scoring for the Tigers started as it ended, with Clifford driving home Metzger. Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth, Clifford hit a ball through the left side of the infield that MTSU shortstop Shelby Stiner was able to knock down. Metzger scored on the play to tie the game at 1-1. Junior Katie Anderson followed with a shot back up the middle that MTSU starter Lindsey Vander Lugt was able to get a glove on, but not corral. Stiner would get to the ball and try to throw out pinch runner Ebon Jones, who made a big turn at third. The throw would find its way into the Tiger dugout and allowing Jones to score. After the umpires conferred with each other, they agreed that Clifford had reached second base before the Stiner's backhanded toss. The overthrow rule states the runners advance two bases from the time of the throw and Clifford was awarded home. The Blue Raiders fought back in the fifth inning with two runs off reliever Amanda Vaught. The junior pitcher worked the final four innings of the game and gave up two hits and two earned runs. Vaught improved to 15-8 and has tied senior Candace Hildebrand with a school record 15 wins. Hildebrand pitched the first four innings of the game scattering four hits and allowing one unearned run. Clifford and Metzger led the Tigers offensively with two hits each. Clifford went 2-for-3 with a run scored and two RBI, while Metzger scored twice and drove in one on a 2-for-4 performance. The Tigers host Eastern Kentucky for a key Ohio Valley Conference series beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 28. The two teams will play a double header on the first day and will conclude the series with a single game at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 29.