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Big Inning, Relief Work Leads to Series Victory

Blue Raiders score eight runs in seventh inning, relievers allow three runs in nine innings

March 11, 2007 · MT Media Relations
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - A three-run double by Taylor Dennis was the big blow in an eight-run seventh inning and five Middle Tennessee relievers allowed just three runs in nine innings of work, leading the Blue Raiders to an 11-7 victory and series win over Troy Sunday at Riddle-Pace Field in Troy, Ala.

Dennis, making just the second start of his career and first this season, was 2-for-4 with three runs scored and three RBIs, including his bases-clearing double in the seventh inning for Middle Tennessee (7-9, 2-1 Sun Belt). Freshman Blake McDade had a two-run double to tie the game earlier in the seventh before Matt Campbell singled home McDade and Zach Barrett followed with an RBI double.

After a pair of walks and a strikeout, Dennis doubled into leftcenter, scoring Barrett, pinch-runner Zach Hudson and Wayne Kendrick. Adam Warren then doubled down the leftfield line, scoring Dennis for the final run of the inning.

Troy (10-8, 1-2) scored twice in the ninth, but Edgar Ramirez grounded out with the bases loaded to end the contest.

For the third straight day, the Middle Tennessee bullpen was excellent. Starter Shay Horseman allowed four runs and did not record an out, but Matt Yurus got one out in the first inning before getting hurt and Brett Reilley recorded the final two outs of the inning.

Reilley worked 2.2 innings, allowing one run on three hits with three strikeouts. Tyler Copeland (1-1) then tossed four shutout innings to pick up the victory, giving up four hits, but the lefthander did not walk a batter. Jordan Alvis tossed the final two innings, giving up two runs on six hits and stranding the bases loaded in the final inning.

Warren collected two hits and two RBIs, while McDade drove in three runs and Campbell and Barrett both recorded two hits apiece. The Blue Raiders took advantage of nine walks by Troy pitching and three Trojans errors.

Rob Stone (2-1), the second of six Troy hurlers, took the loss, allowing three runs on four hits in four-plus innings of work. Troy starter Jeff Green gave up three runs in 2.1 innings, walking four.

"This was a very rewarding series win for us. Last year Troy was the champion and they beat us four times last year," head coach Steve Peterson said. "We weren't playing real well coming into the series. We're such a make-shift lineup right now. What can I say about Taylor Dennis coming in and playing solid defense and getting a big hit. It was a really gutsy win."

The Trojans scored four runs in the first inning to take an early lead, starting with a double from leadoff hitter Ian Craze on an 0-2 pitch. Martinez then hit the first pitch over the rightfield wall down the line for a 2-0 lead.

Clint Robinson and Josh Dew both walked before a double down the rightfield line from Brett Weidlich scored Robinson and ended Horseman's day. After a strikeout by Bryan Miller and a walk to Ramon Orsini, Yurus uncorked a wild pitch, plating Dew. Yurus was hurt on the pitch and left the game. Reilley came on to finish the inning, getting a strikeout and a lineout without any further damage.

In the third the Blue Raiders cut into the deficit, starting with back-to-back walks to Justin Jones and Drew Robertson. With one out Dennis walked to load the bases before an RBI single up the middle by Warren. Rawley Bishop then walked, forcing in a run, and McDade was hit, scoring another run and making it a one-run game.

The Trojans came right back with a run in the bottom of the inning. Beau Brooks led off with a double and Orsini followed with a walk. After an unsuccessful sacrifice attempt, Charlie Calamia doubled to leftcenter, scoring Orsini for a 5-3 Troy advantage.

The Blue Raiders kept plugging away, finally tying the contest and taking the lead in the seventh inning. Dennis reached on a throwing error by third baseman Orsini before Warren was hit. After a strikeout, McDade battled Stone, fouling off several pitches, before doubling off Orsini's glove and down the leftfield line, plating both runners.

Middle Tennessee took the lead later in the inning with an RBI single from Campbell to center, scoring McDade, and Campbell moved to second on an error by Craze in centerfield. Barrett then doubled to rightfield, plating Campbell for a 7-5 Blue Raiders lead. Jones then walked and after a strikeout, Kendrick walked to load the bases.

Dennis then cleared the bases with a double into leftcenter, and Warren followed with a double down the leftfield line, scoring Dennis for an 11-5 Middle Tennessee edge.

In the ninth Dew led off with a solo homer for the Trojans and the home team later loaded the bases with singles from Weidlich, Orsini and Brooks. Craze singled home a run before Alvis induced a game-ending groundout to third base from Ramirez.

Middle Tennessee begins a five-game homestand on Tuesday, hosting Southern Illinois at 3 p.m. at Reese Smith Field.

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