Blue Raiders See Season Come to an End Against Wake Forest

May 26, 2001 · MT Media Relations
Knoxville, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee's 24th ranked baseball team had its season come to an end Saturday with a 6-3 loss to No. 15 Wake Forest at the Knoxville Regional. The Blue Raiders were held to just two hits in the game as the Demon Deacons advanced to the losers bracket finals.

"When you don't swing the bats well at this level you are not going to win baseball games," head coach Steve Peterson said. "I thought we were going to have to manufacture runs today, but Wake's two-run home run in the first inning really changed our approach. We were not able to do the things we wanted to."

The Demon Deacons (42-17) got off to a quick 2-0 lead when freshman all-America candidate Jamie D'Antona cranked a home run to right field with one runner aboard.

Middle Tennessee right hander Jason Moates kept the WFU bats in check the next three innings before the Blue Raiders could finally manufacture a run.

The Blue Raiders (41-17) got their first run in the fourth inning when Marshall Nisbett reached base with a walk, stole second, advanced to third on a fly ball by Kyle Thomas then came home when Wake's third baseman Cory Slavik booted Jason Howarth's ground ball.

Wake Forest responded with a run in the fifth when Cory Sullivan came home from third on a hot grounder by Slavik. Slavik's shot hit Moates in the ankle, caromed to Phillip Campbell at second who was able to get the out, but not before Sullivan crossed the plate. Moates then had to leave the game and was replaced by Jeremy Armstrong.

Nisbett then broke up Cory Sullivan's no-hit bid in the sixth inning when he hit a solo home run to right field to make the score 3-2. It was Nisbett's sixth round-tripper of the season and the third of the month.

The Deacons came right back in the seventh when Nick Blue drew a walk, moved to third on a single by Sullivan and came home on a fly ball by Jason Aquilante. This visitors also added a single run in the eighth frame to extend to a three-run advantage.

Dave Bush came on in the eighth slamming the door to earn his 16th save on the season as Wake Forest improved to 37-0 when leading after seven innings.

"It was a great season and I am very proud of this team," Peterson said. "We accomplished more this year than anyone thought we would. This is a very special team and I hate to see the season come to an end."

-MOATES BACK IN NCAAs: Junior Jason Moates made his return to the NCAA Tournament, but his first as a Blue Raider. In 1999, Moates won an NCAA Regional game as a member of the Alabama Crimson Tide.

-UNUSUAL LINEUP: Due to the injuries to all-American Josh Renick and second leading hitter Justin Sims, the Blue Raider lineup today was a very interesting one. Designated hitter Nic Stone was making just his ninth start of the year, Kris Smith was making his third and walk-on Phillip Campbell was making his 12th start of the season. The three newcomer's combined batting average entering play today was .170, while Renick and Sims' average was .398.

-NCAA PLAY: This is Middle Tennessee's 10th NCAA appearance and its second in a row. The Blue Raiders carry an overall mark of 7-20 in NCAA play, including a 4-12 mark under Steve Peterson.

-MISCELLANEOUS: The 2001 campaign marked the second time the Blue Raiders have topped the 40-win plateau under head coach Steve Peterson (42 wins in 1990) - Today's game was the last as a Blue Raider for 10 seniors (Josh Renick, Phillip Campbell, Kyle Skillman, Kyle Thomas, Scott Goodmon, Nic Stone, Kevin Davis, Brandon Johnson, Kris Lammers, and David VanWinkle) - The Blue Raiders managed just four hits and four runs in the two NCAA games - Jason Moates' injury in the fifth inning was a bruised toe.

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