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Raiders Fall at Samford, 3-1

Team manages just four hits, strands 10 runners in loss

February 21, 2007 · MT Media Relations
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Samford scored three runs in the fifth inning, highlighted by a two-run double from Kyle Krebs, and starter Chandler Tidwell limited Middle Tennessee to just four hits over six innings in a 3-1 SU victory at Joe Lee Griffin Field on Wednesday.

The teams split the two-game series and with the victory, Samford (3-2) ended a five-game winning streak for Middle Tennessee (2-3) in the series dating to 2005.

The Blue Raiders did not take advantage of eight walks by the Bulldogs and managed only four hits in the game. Middle Tennessee was just 1-for-8 in the contest with runners in scoring position, stranded 10 on base in the contest.

Samford's Chandler Tidwell (1-0) was wildly effective, tossing six innings and giving up just the one run on four hits. Tidwell walked five but also struck out five.

David Knapp worked two hitless innings for SU, walking two and striking out two, before Joseph Edens tossed a scoreless ninth for his second save of the season.

Middle Tennessee starter Brett Smalley worked just 4.1 innings, giving up three runs on five hits. He walked three and struck out five in taking the loss. Brad Robinson tossed 3.1 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out two. Josh Anderson got the final out of the eighth inning.

Wayne Kendrick accounted for two of Middle Tennessee's four hits in the game and also walked once, while Adam Warren and Blake McDade collected the team's other hits.

"Samford's pitching staff and defense played outstanding. They executed their pitches and we didn't make adjustments when we had to," head coach Steve Peterson said. "And when we got people in scoring position, we could not get a big hit. They got a big hit in the fifth inning when they needed it and that was the difference in the ballgame."

Peterson said Blue Raider pitchers did a good job, but that Samford's pitching was the difference, even in Tuesday's Middle Tennessee victory.

"I thought [Brett] Smalley pitched very well and Brad Robinson also pitched very well and we played good defense. It was a well-played game.

"It was disappointing how we swung the bats. It's something our hitters have to own up to, to make adjustments. [Samford] made a decision on how they were going to pitch hitters after [Tuesday's] game. If you look at Tuesday, we just put one big inning together. It's not like we just ripped the ball, but we had much better at-bats [than in Wednesday's game.]"

The Blue Raiders got on the board early with a run in the first, and just like on Tuesday, it came with two outs. Kendrick doubled to left with two outs and Warren plated Kendrick with a single to left.

Warren stole second and Rawley Bishop drew a walk later in the inning before McDade flied out to the warning track in centerfield to end the inning.

Samford looked to tie the game in the second after a leadoff double from Louis Rojas. A groundout from Bear Burnett moved Rojas to third, but Smalley struck out designated hitter Marcus Rodriguez before walking Johnny Morgan to put runners on the corners. Samford tried the double steal, but the Blue Raiders executed defensively, with Matt Ray's throw to the plate in time to get the sliding Rojas and keep Middle Tennessee in the lead.

In the Blue Raider third, Kendrick singled with two outs and Warren walked, but Bishop's fly ball to center wasn't quite deep enough, run down at the edge of the warning track to end the threat.

Smalley worked out of a jam in the bottom of the third after a one-out single from Bill Whitehead and a two-out single by Michael Marseco. The Middle Tennessee righthander threw four straight quality pitches to three-hole hitter Parkis Gargis, striking out the Bulldog second baseman looking for the final out of the inning.

Samford finally took advantage of its opportunities in the fifth inning after a one-out single from Luke Peavy and a four-pitch walk to Whitehead. Leadoff hitter Krebs then hit a line drive deep down the leftfield line that landed maybe two feet fair. Peavy scored easily and Whitehead slid in just ahead of the tag.

Krebs took third on the play and scored on a high chopper back to the mound by Marseco, giving the Bulldogs a 3-1 advantage.

The Blue Raiders tried to get a run back in the sixth, but two stellar defensive plays by Samford kept the deficit at two runs. Bishop was gunned down by Marseco from deep in the hole between second and third base to start the inning. After a double by McDade, Zach Barrett hit a hard grounder back up the middle with two outs, but Gargis made a diving stop to his right and threw out the runner from his knees to end the inning.

Middle Tennessee missed a good opportunity to perhaps tie the game in the eighth after one out walks to both Warren and Bishop. But McDade skied a ball to the infield and pinch-hitter Dillon Heath struck out looking the end the threat.

Barrett drew a leadoff walk to start the ninth inning, the eighth walk of the game by Samford pitching, but the Blue Raiders stranded the runner at first to end the game.

Middle Tennessee hosts a three-game series this weekend against Bowling Green, starting Friday at 3 p.m. at Reese Smith Field. Please note a game time change for this weekend's series. Saturday's game is now at 1 p.m., moved up an hour to accommodate fans hoping to also see the women's basketball game, which starts at 3 p.m.

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