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Kline Strikes Out Eight in 8-5 Win

March 15, 2003 · MT Media Relations
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Steve Kline struck out a career-high eight in seven innings and Middle Tennessee banged out nine extra-base hits en route to an 8-5 victory over Purdue Saturday afternoon at Reese Smith Field.

The Blue Raiders' first nine hits of the contest went for extra bases, as Middle Tennessee roughed up Purdue starter Scott Byrnes. The home team scored seven of their eight runs in the first four innings, chasing Byrnes after just 3.1 innings of work.

 

Kline (2-1) gave up three runs on seven hits and did not walk a batter in posting his second quality start of the season. The Murfreesboro, Tenn., native tossed exactly 100 pitches and faced more than four batters in an inning only once, the fifth, when the Boilermakers picked up three runs.

 

The Blue Raiders got on the board early thanks to some two-out hitting. Marcus Taylor drew a two-out walk before Jerry Knox, making his first start of the year at first base, lined the first pitch the opposite way, just inside the leftfield line. Brett Carroll then hit one high and deep and gone to give Middle Tennessee a 3-0 edge after an inning.

 

Troy Harp doubled in the second and Taylor tripled in the third to keep the string of extra base hits alive before Middle Tennessee erupted for four more runs in the fourth.

 

Chris LeGuenec doubled to leadoff and Jeff Beachum followed two batters later with his own two-bagger. Harp then homered to left, driving one deep into the football stadium for a 6-0 Blue Raider advantage. After a Chad Cooper double, Byrnes was lifted for Jason Driscoll, who gave up a double to Chuck Akers just inside the first base line.

 

But the Boilermakers would not go away, scoring three in the fifth to cut into the lead.

 

Matt Bush and Nick McIntyre had back-to-back singles with one out before Mitch Koester belted a full count pitch over the wall in left to make it 7-3 Blue Raiders.

 

Middle Tennessee added a run in the seventh when Knox was hit to leadoff. Carroll singled and Shane Kemp was intentionally walked to load the bases. Beachum then lifted a sacrifice fly to center, plating pinch-runner Jarrett England to give the Blue Raider a five-run edge.

 

Purdue added a pair of runs in the ninth and had the opportunity to get more, but Blue Raider reliever Chase Swing worked out of his own mess.

 

Chad Reeves chopped a single into left to start the frame and Simon Klink followed with a walk. John Hunter then bounced a grounder deep in the hole between first and second, and Beachum's throw to second for the force was just late.

 

McIntyre plated Reeves with a sacrifice fly and Swing struck out pinch-hitter Andy Rempel for the second out of the inning. Koester singled home Klink, making it 8-5, before Swing got a groundout to end the contest.

 

Byrnes (0-2) gave up six runs on eight hits with two strikeouts to take the loss. Driscoll came on to strike out three and allow one run in three innings of work.

 

For the Blue Raiders, Cooper, Akers, Taylor, Knox, Carroll and Harp all had two hits apiece, with Carroll driving in three runs while Harp and Beachum each had two RBIs.

 

Koster, McIntyre and Daniel Underwood all had a pair of hits for the Boilermakers.

 

The two teams conclude their three-game series Sunday at 1 p.m. The Blue Raiders play at Belmont Tuesday before hosting Tennessee Tech Wednesday at 3 p.m.

 

GAME NOTES

Senior Jerry Knox got his first start of the year in the field and hit fourth in the lineup ... Marcus Taylor extended his hitting streak to six games with a triple in the third.

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