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Ray's RBI Single in Ninth Gives Raiders 9-8 Victory

Blue Raiders win back-and-forth contest with OVC-rival Austin Peay

March 27, 2007 · MT Media Relations
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Matt Ray's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth scored Rawley Bishop in a back-and-forth affair that had three lead changes and a pair of ties, giving Middle Tennessee a 9-8 victory over Austin Peay Tuesday night at Reese Smith Field.

The Blue Raiders (13-14) jumped out to a 6-0 lead after three innings, only to see the visiting Govs (12-10) score seven unanswered runs, including a pair of three-run homers from catcher Trey Lucas, who did not start the game but entered in the third inning.

A solo homer in the sixth inning from Grant Box tied the game at seven before the Blue Raiders took an 8-7 edge after Blake McDade's pinch-hit RBI single in the eighth.

But APSU's Tyler Farrar lined a 1-1 pitch over the wall in leftcenter in the top of the ninth to tie the contest once again.

In the bottom of the ninth Bishop fisted an infield single up the middle and Zach Barrett laid down a sacrifice bunt. Wayne Kendrick was then intentionally walked before Ray battled to a 2-2 count and singled into rightcenter, plating Bishop for the 9-8 victory.

Middle Tennessee's Jordan Alvis (2-0), the fifth pitcher of the game, picked up the win despite giving up the tying home run in the ninth. Alvis worked one inning, giving up two hits and the one run while striking out one.

APSU's Ben Wilshire (0-1), the fourth Govs hurler of the contest, took the loss, allowing one run on three hits in one-plus inning of work. Jeff Lykins gave the visitors a chance to get back into the contest, working 4.1 innings and giving up two runs on three hits. Lykins entered the game with the Govs down 6-0 and left with APSU ahead by a run.

Myles Ervin, Bishop and Kendrick all had two hits in the victory for the Blue Raiders. Will Hogue collected three hits and two runs scored for the Govs, while Lucas was 2-for-3 with six RBIs off the bench.

The Blue Raiders scored once in the first on three hits, starting with consecutive singles from Ervin and Matt Campbell. With two outs Bishop singled through the leftside, scoring Ervin for an early lead, and extending Bishop's hitting streak to 15 games.

Middle Tennessee added three more runs in the second with the benefit of just one hit. APSU starter Stephen Huff walked Zach Hudson, Box and Taylor Dennis with one out, and Hudson scored on a wild pitch. Ervin's single to center plated Box and Adam Warren's long fly ball to center scored Dennis for a 4-0 Blue Raider advantage.

The home team added two more runs in the third. Barrett drew a leadoff walk from Huff, ending his day. Kendrick then doubled to put runners on second and third before an RBI groundout from Hudson. A two-out single to center from Dennis plated Kendrick for a 6-0 Middle Tennessee lead.

But the Govs cut into the lead with four runs in the fourth on just two hits. J.B. Gilbert drew a leadoff walk and Hogue's one-out double to leftfield plated Gilbert. After a two-out walk to Ryne Mantooth, Lucas hit a hanging breaking ball off the top of the restrooms in the football stadium, a three-run shot, cutting the Middle Tennessee lead to 6-4.

Again APSU used the long ball to score three times in the sixth, taking the lead. Hogue singled to leadoff and Mantooth walked with one out before Lucas hit a high fly ball that just cleared the wall in rightfield, his second three-run homer of the game, giving the Govs a 7-6 advantage.

The Blue Raiders quickly tied the game, though, with a solo homer to leadoff the bottom of the sixth from Box, his second of the year.

In the eighth Kendrick doubled to leadoff and Ray moved him to third with a pinch-hit groundout. McDade pinch-hit as well and was down 1-2 in the count when Austin Peay went to the hard-throwing Wilshire. McDade fought off the first pitch, fisting it up the middle and in just the right spot behind the bag where neither APSU infielder had a play. Kendrick scored on the play, giving the Blue Raiders an 8-7 lead.

Farrar's one-out homer in the ninth, his second round-tripper of the season, tied the game at eight, setting up Ray's game-winning hit in the bottom of the ninth.

Middle Tennessee takes on Vanderbilt Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Nashville before hosting league-leading Louisiana-Monroe this weekend at Reese Smith Field.

GAME NOTES
Senior Matt Campbell extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single in the first ... Sophomore Rawley Bishop singled in the first, extending his hitting streak to 15 games, tying for the second longest by a Blue Raider since 1999 ... Middle Tennessee won its ninth in a row over Austin Peay at home and its eighth in the last nine meetings overall with the Govs. The two teams play again April 10 in Clarksville.

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