Harp Gets Game-Winning Hit in 10thMay 11, 2002 · MT Media Relations
However, the Blue Raiders (24-24; 6-13) should never have been in a situation requiring Harp's assistance. Middle Tennessee squandered a three-run lead in the late innings, forcing a big Blue Raider comeback in extra frames.
The Trojans struck first in the game. Jon Youngblood led off the contest with a triple against MT starter Adam Larson and came in to score on a groundout from Santino Dewreede.
The Blue Raiders would rally to knot the score in the bottom of the third with Harp again acting as the catalyst. He delivered a one-out double and advanced to second on a Chuck Akers fly out. Nate Jaggers did the honors by plating Harp with a solid base hit to left center field.
The Blue Raiders grabbed the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Josh Archer led off the Blue Raiders' half of the frame with a monstrous blast over the left field wall, giving him nine round-trippers on the year.
The Blue Raiders seemingly took command in the bottom of the fifth. The scoring started when Harp scored from third on a wild pitch that allowed Archer to reach base after a strikeout. With Archer at first and Jaggers, who had singled earlier, at third, Marshall Nisbett banged a hit down the right field line that brought across the second run.
The elation would be short lived. UALR mounted an improbable comeback in the top of the seventh. The innings started with Brodie Ward reaching on an error before advancing to second on a wild pitch. Another MT fielding miscue put runners at first and second. Larson would rally to strike out Youngblood and looked as if he might make it out of the inning unscathed.
However, a walk to Dewreede and infield single from John Gragg brought in the first run of the inning and left the bases loaded. Kevin Kouzmanoff delivered a single into right that was certain to tie the score, but the ball got past Marshall Nisbett, allowing three runs to come across and give the Trojans the lead for the first time in the game.
Middle Tennessee got off the deck to knot the score again in the bottom of the eighth. Archer led off the inning with a triple and was promptly lifted for pinch runner Chad Cooper. A Nisbett single would chase Cooper across, but the Blue Raiders could not manage to retake the lead.
Reliever Chris Mobley, who relieved Larson in the seventh, kept the Blue Raiders in the game over the last 3-1/3 innings. Mobleyallowed only three hits while striking out five during his scoreless effort.
The Blue Raiders finally looked to be in control in the bottom of the tenth inning. Nisbett led off with a double and Jason Howarth followed with a single that sent Nisbett to third with no outs. Leguenec grounded out for the first out, advancing Howarth to second in the process. An intentional walk to pinch hitter Derek Phillips set the stage for Harp, who smashed a single into right field to seal the game.
Mobley (4-4) picked up the win in relief while UALR reliever Bobby Reed (1-9) was the loser.
The game gives the Blue Raiders a two-game cushion over the Trojans for eighth place in the conference standings heading into Saturday's contest. The second game of the series is set to begin at 2 PM.
Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.
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