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Baseball Splits Twinbill

February 23, 2003 · MT Media Relations
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee's Steve Kline tossed a complete-game to get the win in the opener, 7-2, but visiting Jacksonville State got a pinch-hit single from Clint Carroll to drive in the winning run in a 5-4 JSU win in game two, as the two clubs split a doubleheader Sunday afternoon at frigid Reese Smith Field.

Kline (1-0), making his first appearance for the Blue Raiders since May of 2001 after sitting out last season, allowed two runs on three hits in seven innings to get the first victory of his career. The lefthander struck out four, did not walk a batter and threw just 78 pitches. Kline was 0-0 with a save as a freshman in 2001.

 

Middle Tennessee (1-2) got all the offense it would need in game one in the first inning, as sophomore Brett Carroll hit a towering grand slam home run that hit the facade of the upper deck at the football stadium in leftfield. JSU starter Clark Jinks (0-1) walked four batters in the first and one run scored on a Josh Archer groundout up the middle before Carroll's blast gave the Blue Raiders a 5-0 advantage.

 

The Gamecocks (3-4) got their two runs in the fourth after Kline set down the first 10 batters of the contest. Danny Civello singled to left-center before Bobby Hicks lined an opposite field homer over the leftfield wall. A leadoff single by Brian Haskins in the seventh would be the only other hit for JSU.

 

Middle Tennessee got the two runs back in its half of the fourth, as Marcus Taylor doubled down the rightfield line, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Troy Harp, and scored when Chuck Akers grounder to second was booted. Akers then stole second and third and scored when JSU catcher Richard Turner's throw went into leftfield. Akers had four stolen bases in the contest, setting a new Blue Raider single-game record.

 

Middle Tennessee had just six hits in the win but took advantage of five Gamecock walks.

 

In the second game the Gamecocks started fast, plating three runs in the first on four consecutive singles by Civello, Hicks, Haskins and Travis Suereth.

 

The Blue Raiders got single runs in the first, second and third to knot the score at three. Nate Jaggers scored in the first on an RBI single to left from Chad Cooper, and Carroll plated the second run after doubling to start the inning, advancing to third on a sac bunt by Jeff Beachum and scoring on Taylor's sacrifice fly to right. Shane Kemp's line drive over the leftfield wall to lead off the third tied the score.

 

Each squad scored once in the fourth. Evan Conley doubled to start the inning and after a walk, chase Blue Raider starter Travis Horschel. Conley went to third on a groundout and scored on a safety squeeze by Jason Horn. Taylor's solo shot to lead off again knotted the contest.

 

Conley doubled with one out in the sixth off Middle Tennessee reliever Shay Horseman, and Clint Carroll's pinch-hit single to right-center gave the Gamecocks the go-ahead run.

 

The Blue Raiders had a chance in the bottom of the seventh, as pinch-hitter Derek Phillips led off with a single to left and went to second on a sacrifice bunt from Akers. But Kemp struck out swinging and Jaggers flied out to right to end the game off JSU reliever Josh Forrest.

 

Forrest got the final three outs to save it for Bobby Wynns (1-0), who tossed three strong innings of relief after starter Danny Andres did not make it out of the third. Wynns allowed just one hit, Kemp's homer, and struck out three. Jase Kreitner got the final out in the sixth for the Gamecocks.

 

Horschel got no decision for the Blue Raiders after allowing four runs, three earned, on six hits with three walks in three-plus frames of work. Horseman (0-1) was saddled with the tough-luck loss, though the freshman pitched well. Horseman gave up one run on two hits with five strikeouts in 3.2 innings.

 

Cooper had two of Middle Tennessee's eight hits in the second game. Haskins and Conley both had a pair of hits in the second contest for the Gamecocks.

 

The Blue Raiders return to action this Friday with a 3 p.m. game against Kansas at Reese Smith Field. Middle Tennessee will also host Rutgers on Saturday at 2 p.m. and Kent State next Sunday at 1 p.m.

GAME NOTES

Chuck Akers had four stolen bases in the first game, setting a new single-game record ... Steve Kline made his first start for the Blue Raiders since May 8, 2001, at Vanderbilt, and had his first appearance since May 26 versus Wake Forest in the NCAA Regional in Knoxville ... There was a 13-minute delay in the bottom of the first inning of the second game after JSU catcher Travis Suereth was hit in the head by a bat.

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