This Week in Blue Raider Baseball

October 20, 2006 · MT Media Relations
GRAND SLAM FISH FRY DATE SET: Middle Tennessee head baseball coach Steve Peterson has announced the annual Grand Slam Fish Fry fundraiser will take place on Tuesday, October 24, at 6 p.m. The event will be held in the Livestock Center on the Middle Tennessee campus and will feature catfish and Cajun gumbo for adults and hot dogs for kids. Russ & Becky Jeffers Country Band, as well as "Big Hoss Cartwright," will be on hand for the evening's entertainment. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Children six and under are admitted free of charge. Tickets are available at the Middle Tennessee Ticket Office located at Gate 1A of Floyd Stadium. Tickets are also available at Vick's Lawn & Tractor in Murfreesboro (Robert Rose Drive), Crosslin Supply in Smyrna and Wheeler's Market on Lascassas Pike in Murfreesboro. Patrons wishing to pay by mail can make checks payable to Middle Tennessee Baseball Fish Fry and can send their payment to Steve Peterson, MTSU Box 90, Murfreesboro, TN, 37132. For more information, please call 615/898-2984 or 615/898-2450. Proceeds from the Grand Slam Fish Fry benefit the Blue Raider baseball program.'

WINTER BASEBALL CAMP DATES SET: Middle Tennessee will host its annual Winter Camp on Friday-Saturday, December 29-30, at the Stephen B. Smith Clubhouse and Indoor Training Facility and Murphy Center. The camp is $100 per camper per session and includes lunch, with each day's activities running from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Ages 8-High School Senior may attend, with players grouped by age for each camp. Each session is limited to 75 campers. Friday, December 29 is a Hitting Camp, with Saturday December 30 for Pitchers and Catchers. Middle Tennessee players and coaches will serve as instructors. A brochure may be found at http://www.goblueraiders.com/content.cfm/id/21594 or interested parties may call 615/898-2961 for more information.

GREATEST MOMENTS AT REESE SMITH FIELD: GoBlueRaiders.com is currently compiling a list of the greatest moments in Reese Smith Field history. With the 2007 season the final campaign in the current stadium, we want fans to tell us about their fondest memories at the current location of the Middle Tennessee baseball field. The Blue Raiders have played at the current location just east of the football field since the 1950's with home plate in its current location since at least 1970. Give a brief synopsis of your greatest moment spent at Reese Smith Field. The submissions do NOT have to be about baseball or the Blue Raiders. They can be related to moments such as meeting your future wife, spending a day with a child or grandchild, watching future collegiate or major league stars in a showcase or tournament during high school or summer action. If you know the date, please submit it. Otherwise, if possible, please give a year. Submissions will be taken until October 31, 2006, and fans will then be able to vote for the Reese Smith Field Top 10 until the end of the calendar year. The list of the Top 10 moments will be revealed leading into the 2007 season opener in February. Relive those great Blue Raider moments as Middle Tennessee heads into a new stadium in 2008.

ROBINSON LEADS PITCHERS IN FALL: Murfreesboro native and former Oakland High School standout Brad Robinson led the Middle Tennessee pitching staff through fall practice as the most consistent hurler, throwing three pitchers for strikes. He tossed two-plus innings in the Blue-White World Series, allowing two hits and one run while striking out two in two appearances. Robinson spent the summer working out with teammates but not playing, so it took a few outings to get back in the groove on the mound. He also wanted to make a point for everyone to see.

"I wanted to prove that I deserve to be here. I worked out all summer in the weight room and threw a lot with the other guys," Robinson said. "By my third outing I felt back to where I should be."

The 6-foot, 5-inch righthander says his two years at Cleveland State Community College are a major reason he is a Blue Raider today.

"[The junior college experience] changed everything. It was the best experience of my life. It really changed the way I approach the game and made me care about baseball. I had a great coach and a great pitching coach."

Robinson said he and pitching coach Mike McLaury worked hard on one aspect this fall and let his talent take care of the rest.

"We really worked on getting the ball down. I learned a change-up in junior college and now it's my baby. I'll throw it to anyone at anytime and it has really made a big difference in my success.

RAY PLAYS WAY INTO LINEUP: Matt Ray, a transfer from Central Florida, started the fall with an opportunity to play his way into the lineup and did just that with a tremendous effort throughout the four-week session, including an 8-for-14 (.571) effort in the Blue-White World Series. Ray says he tries to do one thing whenever he gets the opportunity to step on the baseball field.

"I'm just having fun. It's still just a game and I want to have fun," Ray said. "You have to take it seriously sometimes because it can be a job, but I just give 100 percent everyday."

Ray cemented his place in the leadoff spot and as the shortstop with his great play in the fall. He said those are the two spots where he's most comfortable.

"I've always played shortstop and it's where I feel most comfortable. I have more experience at shortstop than anywhere else. And the leadoff spot is really the only place that I've ever hit."

The switch-hitter from Riceville, Tenn., said he had always hit from both sides but didn't try it in a game until high school.

"I've really been a switch-hitter all my life but didn't start doing it in games until my senior year in high school. That was my first full year doing it. I'm a natural righthanded hitter but I feel more comfortable now hitting lefthanded."

Ray said head coach Steve Peterson had a few things in mind for him when the two had their individual meeting at the end of fall practice.

"[Coach Peterson] said he wants me to get on base and run and also be a defensive leader. Catcher and shortshop and centerfield, those are the three spots on the field where you need leaders defensively."

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