Raiders Survive Ninth Inning for 8-7 Victory

Alvis saves victory for Reilley; Ray and Kendrick both collect three hits

April 8, 2007 · MT Media Relations
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Brett Reilley tossed six-plus innings of relief, the longest outing of his career, and Middle Tennessee worked out of a jam with the tying and winning runs on in the bottom of the ninth, as the Blue Raiders hung on to defeat Arkansas-Little Rock, 8-7, Sunday at Gary Hogan Field. With the win, the Blue Raiders won their fifth straight conference series and stand tied for second in the Sun Belt midway through the league schedule.

Middle Tennessee's Matt Ray and Wayne Kendrick both collected three hits, while Ray scored twice and drove in a pair of runs. Blake McDade recorded two hits and had two RBIs, while Zach Barrett had two hits and Blake Robertson collected two hits and scored twice.

The Blue Raiders (19-17, 10-5 Sun Belt) led 8-5 heading to the bottom of the ninth with Reilley cruising, but UALR's Robert Taylor led off the inning with a solo homer, his fifth of the season. Reilley got a groundout before Matt King singled and Osvaldo Torres doubled down the leftfield line, putting runners on second and third and ending Reilley's day.

Pinch-hitter Brad Swiderski singled on the first pitch against Josh Anderson, scoring pinch-runner Sean Joyce, and putting runners on the corners with just one out.

Jordan Alvis came in the game and the Trojans tried the get the winning run in scoring position, but Robertson gunned down pinch-runner Daniel Guffey at second base. Alvis then punched out Tyler Mason looking for the final out of the game, picking up his second save of the year.

Reilley (4-1), whose longest outing before Sunday was four-plus innings in a start last year at Birmingham Southern, allowed just one hit before the ninth. The righthander threw 87 pitches in 6.1 innings, giving up two runs on four hits. He walked one and struck out three.

Middle Tennessee starter Brett Smalley lasted two-plus innings, allowing five runs on five hits with one out. He gave up a grand slam in UALR's five-run second inning before exiting after a leadoff single in the third.

The Blue Raiders scored a run in the first on Kendrick's RBI single and added two runs in the third, one on a sacrifice fly from Rawley Bishop and another on an RBI single by Matt Campbell.

Middle Tennessee took the lead with three runs in the fifth, two on McDade's double and one on a bloop single from Justin Humphrey. The Blue Raiders added two more runs in the seventh on a two-run double by Ray, giving the squad the three-run lead heading into the ninth.

Trojans starter Joe Campbell allowed five runs, three earned, on eight hits in four-plus innings. Levi Laughlin (0-3) took the loss, giving up three runs on six hits with three strikeouts.

The Blue Raiders struck first for the second straight day, with Ray doubling to leadoff the game. He moved to third on a groundout by Adam Warren and scored on Kendrick's single to center.

The Trojans (12-20, 2-9) plated five runs in the second to take the lead, with everything starting after Taylor reached on an error by shortstop Ray to start the inning. Nathan Parker then executed the hit-and-run, putting runners on the corners, and King's single through the leftside, his first of the series, plated Taylor.

Torres fouled off a couple of pitches before drawing a walk to load the bases before Nick DeSanctis hit a line drive down the rightfield line that stayed just fair and barely cleared the 16-foot wall for a grand slam, his first career home run.

The Blue Raiders cut into the UALR lead with two unearned runs in the third. Robertson singled to leadoff and Ray's grounder to shortstop Brian Asbill was booted. After a flyout, Kendrick singled to left, loading the bases, before a sacrifice fly to center from Bishop. Campbell's single up the middle scored Ray, cutting the deficit to 5-3.

Middle Tennessee scored three times in the fifth to retake the lead, starting with consecutive singles from Doug Birkofer and Kendrick to leadoff and ending the day for UALR starter Joe Campbell. Campbell walked to load the bases for McDade, who fouled off five pitches before lacing a double that hit halfway up the wall in right.

Two runs scored on the play and Humphrey followed with a bloop single down the rightfield line, plating Campbell for a 6-5 Blue Raider advantage.

Middle Tennessee added two insurance runs in the seventh. McDade singled to leadoff and moved to third on a hit-and-run single from Zach Barrett. McDade was tagged on Robertson's chopper in front of the plate, but Ray delivered the big blow in the inning, a two-run double to rightcenter for an 8-5 Blue Raider lead.

Taylor's solo homer down the leftfield line to leadoff the ninth cut the Blue Raider advantage to 8-6, starting the madness to the ninth before Alvis came on to preserve the victory.

Middle Tennessee ends its five-game road swing Tuesday at Austin Peay at 6:30 p.m. The Blue Raiders host a three-game series next weekend versus New Orleans starting Friday at 6 p.m.

Matt Ray extended his hitting streak to five games with a double to leadoff the game ... Adam Warren's hitting streak ended at seven games after he left the game in the second because of an injury ... Myles Ervin's six-game hitting streak came to an end after he lined out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth.

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