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Raiders Steal Victory in 10th, 4-3

Bishop scores winning run on double steal with McSweeney

March 24, 2007 · MT Media Relations
JONESBORO, Ark. - Rawley Bishop and Michael McSweeney executed the double steal to perfection, with Bishop scoring the winning run in the top of the 10th inning, giving Middle Tennessee a 4-3 victory over Arkansas State Saturday night at Tomlinson Stadium. The teams have split extra inning affairs in the first two games of the series and will play the rubber game Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Blue Raiders missed several chances to take the lead in the game in the late innings, including loading the bases with one out in the eighth in a 3-3 contest. But McSweeney stuck out and Taylor Dennis grounded out to end the threat.

Middle Tennessee then dodged a bullet in the bottom half of the inning after a leadoff triple from Jordan Kimball. Reliever Jordan Alvis got a strikeout before intentionally walking Tyler Doke to set up the doubleplay. Guy Brown hit a high chopper to short, starting a 6-4-3 twin-killing to end the inning, with a great turn at second base from Dennis to complete the doubleplay.

In the 10th, Bishop led off with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Adam Warren and after an intentional walk to Blake McDade, Bishop advanced to third on a fielder's choice by McSweeney. With an 0-2 count o Dennis, McSweeney took off from first and waited in the baseline for a rundown. When ASU reliever Tim Egart made the throw to second baseman Brown, Bishop took off immediately and beat the relay to the plate, stealing home for the go-ahead run.

Brett Reilley set the side down in order in the bottom of the 10th to pick up his first save of the season, while Tyler Copeland (2-1) got the win, striking out the final batter of the ninth.

Egart (2-2) took the loss, giving up a run on one hit in 1.1 innings of work.

Middle Tennessee scored two unearned runs and three total in the sixth inning to take a 3-1 lead, only to give both runs back because of an error in the bottom of the sixth. The team combined for eight errors in the contest, six by Arkansas State, and the Blue Raiders had just six hits in the game, including only three in the first seven innings. The two teams combined to strand 21 runners, 10 by the Blue Raiders, and ASU left 10 men on base in the first six innings.

Middle Tennessee starter Brad Robinson worked in-and-out of trouble through 5.2 innings of work, giving up eight hits but three unearned runs, walking three and striking out five. Alvis posted his longest collegiate outing, tossing 3.0 innings in all, walking one and striking out four. Copeland struck out the only batter he faced.

ASU starter T.J. Brewer was outstanding before losing his control in the sixth. Brewer gave up just one hit and two runs, one earned, walking four and striking out two. Reliever Nick Lambert worked 3.2 innings, allowing an unearned run on four hits and striking out three.

The Blue Raiders had the first chance to score in the game after a one-out walk to Warren and a fielding error by Brewer in the second inning. Zach Barrett and Dennis both grounded out to end the inning.

ASU put a pair of runners on base in the bottom of the inning after a one-out walk to Drew Rogers and a two-out bunt single from Kimball, but Aaron Ferguson struck out to end the inning.

Ryan Hudgins walked and Brandon Eller singled to center to leadoff the Arkansas State fourth, but Robinson pitched out of the jam. Rogers fouled out, A.J. Prickel struck out and Kimball flied out to end the threat.

But ASU finally broke through in the fifth, scoring an unearned run. Doke singled with one out before Brown reached on an error by Ben Darlington, who had just entered the contest defensively.

After Josh Yates flied out, Hudgins hit the first pitch to leftfield, plating Doke for a 1-0 lead for the home team.

But the Blue Raiders quickly tied the contest in the next half inning, as Matt Ray drew a leadoff walk, stole second, moved to third when the ball ricocheted into centerfield and scored on a wild pitch.

A walk to Matt Campbell ended the day for Brewer, despite allowing just one hit. Campbell moved to second on a wild pitch and third when Bishop reached on an error, putting runners on the corners. A groundout from Warren scored Campbell and then McDade's check-swing single into left plated Bishop for a 3-1 Middle Tennessee advantage.

Just as it did on Friday, ASU tied the contest with a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the inning. Prickel led off with a single and Doke singled with two outs. Robinson looked to be out of the inning, get a grounder to short from Brown, but Kendrick came up just a hair too soon, leaving the ball on the ground and allowing Prickel to score from third. Yates then singled to left, plating Doke with the tying run and ending Robinson's day.

The two teams conclude the series Sunday at 1 p.m., with the Blue Raiders sending sophomore righthander Brett Smalley (1-3, 3.16 ERA) to the mound.

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