SMS Takes Finale, 2-1March 9, 2003 · MT Media Relations
The Blue Raiders were swept by SMS in the three-game series, falling to 2-12 all-time against the Bears and 0-7 in Springfield.
Blue Raider starter Travis Horschel worked himself out of trouble in the first, as the Bears got a leadoff walk and Dant'e Brinkley executed the hit-and-run to perfection to put runners on the corners with one out. But Horschel got Greg Mathis to popout and struck out Justin DePriest looking to end the threat.
The Blue Raiders had their own chance in the second, with Brett Carroll drawing a one-out walk before Shane Kemp singled. Troy Harp had an infield single in the hole between short and third with two outs, but Chad Cooper groundout out to end the inning.
Middle Tennessee (4-6) got on the board first with a single run in the fourth. Carroll doubled down the leftfield line with one out and Chris LeGuenec singled home Carroll with two outs for a 1-0 lead.
The Bears tied the game in the sixth when Mathis doubled off the glove of shortstop Cooper and then stole third. Marcum then drove in the run with a sacrifice fly to shallow righfield.
SMS (7-3) had another chance in the seventh after a one-out wind-blown single by Adam Pummill. The runner stole second, but Horschel got a popout and Chuck Akers made a nice running catch of a line drive off the bat of Rick Wilson for the third out, keeping the game tied at one.
Bears starter Bob Zimmerman, a preseason All-American, got no-decision, allowing one run on six hits with nine strikeouts and just one walk. He also hit a batter. Horschel also got no decision in one of the best starts of his career, giving up one run on six hits while striking out four and walking three.
SMS pushed ahead in the eighth after Brinkley reached to leadoff on a throwing error by Cooper. Mathis then beat out a bunt single before Marcum grounded a ball into rightfield, plating Brinkley with the go-ahead run.
"It was an outstanding pitcher's dual and we matched up well with their pitchers today," Blue Raider head coach Steve Peterson said.
"At the end of the game they made the plays defensively and executed the hit-and-run to perfection. And we gave them an unearned run.
"If you can't make routine plays, then you're a long ways from winning ballgames. This team has to learn to play the game of baseball, do the little things that it takes to win."
Mathis was 3-for-4 with a run scored for the winners. Shane Kemp had two of Middle Tennessee's seven hits.
Mobley (1-1) took the loss, allowing the unearned run in the eighth despite striking out the side. Paul Marsala (1-0) pitched a scoreless eighth for SMS to get the win, and Marcum got his fourth save of the season, allowing a hit and striking out two in the ninth.
The Blue Raiders travel to Cape Girardeau, Mo., for a single game Monday at 3 p.m. against Southeast Missouri before hosting Samford Tuesday and Wednesday at Reese Smith Field. Both contests against Samford are 3 p.m. starts
GAME NOTESChris LeGuenec made the first start of his career in leftfield. The Blue Raiders started three different leftfielders in the series ... Marcus Taylor started for the second straight day as the designated hitter.
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