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Blue Raiders Knock Off UALR 13-10

May 11, 2002 · MT Media Relations
Another marathon game provided another late-inning comeback win for the Blue Raiders on Saturday afternoon at Reese Smith Field.

The Blue Raiders picked up a 13-10 win over Arkansas-Little Rock to clinch their second straight series and gives the team four straight wins. The win puts Middle Tennessee (25-24; 7-13) three games in front of UALR (17-33, 3-15) for the eighth and final spot in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. A Blue Raider win on Sunday will ensure the Blue Raiders a trip to Mobile.

However, the road that finally arrived at a Blue Raider win on Saturday was a long and winding one.

The Blue Raiders looked to be in control early as they put four runs on the board in the bottom of the first inning. Marshall Nisbett drove in two of his three runs with a single into right field in the frame to get the ball rolling. Chris Leguenec continued his hot hitting with an RBI single into left. Chad Cooper closed out the scoring with an RBI single of his own.

The Blue Raiders would go on to plate another run in the bottom of the second and two more in the bottom of the third to take what looked like a commanding 7-0 lead into the top of the fourth.

The Trojans finally got a run on the board when Kevin Kouzmanoff scored on a wild pitch from MT starter Steven Kines, cutting the lead to 7-1.

The Blue Raiders answered back in the bottom of the fifth. Nate Jaggers did the damage for Middle Tennessee with a two run double that chased home Cooper and Chuck Akers.

With a 9-1 lead things seemed to be decidedly in the Blue Raiders' corner. That is until the top of the sixth.

The Trojans banged out seven runs that led to eight runs in the inning while Middle Tennessee used three different pitchers in the frame before finally retiring UALR. The Trojan onslaught resulted in a 9-9 score heading into the bottom of the sixth.

The Blue Raiders rallied to regain the lead in the bottom of the sixth. Nisbett, who ended the day 4-for-5 with 3 RBIs, doubled to lead off the inning and moved over to third on a Leguenec groundout. Cooper then delivered another single that brought Nisbett across.

The seventh saw both teams go scoreless, but the Trojans touched MT reliever Kyle Sparkman for a homer in the eighth off of the bat of Kouzmanoff to knot the score at 10.

The Blue Raiders finally broke the game open for good in the bottom of the eighth. Josh Archer started the inning with a single to left and was lifted for pinch runner Kris Smith. Nisbett then singled on a bunt attempt and Smith advanced to second. Leguenec came up big again with an RBI single to give the Blue Raiders the lead.

Jason Howarth then singled on yet another bunt attempt, but an errant throw from UALR pitcher Paul Speer allowed Nisbett to score the second run of the frame. Troy Harp completed the scoring with a flare into right field that plated Howarth.

The Blue Raiders held the Trojans scoreless in the top of the ninth to get the victory.

Sparkman picked up the win in relief to move to 1-0 on the year while Danny Borne earned his second save. Speer took the loss for the Trojans to fall to 2-2.

Several Blue Raiders were productive offensively. Jaggers turned in a 3-for-4 effort while Archer and Cooper each went 3-for-5.

The Blue Raiders will try to complete the sweep and guarantee themselves a trip to the conference tournament with a win on Sunday afternoon. The first pitch is slated for 1 PM. Sunday's will also feature a pre-game ceremony honoring the team's seniors as well as the annual Mother's Day festivities.

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