McDade, Robinson Lead 8-6 Victory

Raiders win first game of conference series for just the second time this season

April 20, 2007 · MT Media Relations
MOBILE, Ala. - Freshman Blake McDade drove in three runs and hit his third home run of the season and Brad Robinson tossed 6.2 innings to pick up his fifth victory of the year in Middle Tennessee's 8-6 victory over South Alabama Friday night at Stanky Field.

The Blue Raiders (22-20, 11-8 Sun Belt) ended a three-game losing streak in conference play and a three-game skid against the Jaguars in Mobile.

McDade drove in a pair of runs with a single in the third inning and led off the seventh with a solo homer to right, his third of the season and first since March 4 at Missouri State.

Robinson (5-1) rebounded from his first bad outing of the year last week to get the win, striking out six in 6.2 innings. He allowed five earned runs on six hits and walked two.

Jordan Alvis got the final out of the seventh after South Alabama scored three times to close the gap and he struck out the side in the eighth. Brett Reilley worked a perfect ninth for his fourth save.

Matt Ray walked four times in the contest, scored twice and extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a triple in the seventh. Adam Warren, Wayne Kendrick and Grant Box all added a pair of hits for the Blue Raiders, though the visitors stranded 13 runners in the contest.

South Alabama (19-17, 5-10) took an early lead but wildness from starter Dan Goldberg (4-4) was costly. The righthander took the loss, giving up six runs on five hits while walking four and hitting three others. The two teams combined to hit eight batters in the game, setting a new league high this season.

The Blue Raiders scored twice in the first with the benefit of just one hit and some wildness by Goldberg. Ray walked to leadoff the game and Kendrick singled through the leftside with one out. Rawley Bishop then walked to load the bases before another free pass, this one to Box, forced in a run. A fielder's choice from Myles Ervin plated Kendrick for an early 2-0 lead.

South Alabama pushed three runs across in the second to take the lead thanks to a throwing error by Robinson. Sean Laird and Joel Collins were both hit to start the inning. Lance Heisler laid down a sacrifice bunt and Robinson's throw was wide of the bag at third and rolled into leftfield. Laird scored, Collins moved to third and Heisler ended up at second on the play. Clint Toomey's single to center plated two runs for a 3-2 USA advantage.

But the Blue Raiders came right back with three runs in the third to retake the lead. Warren singled on the leftside, Bishop was hit and Box's grounder found a hole through the rightside to load the bases. Warren scored on a wild pitch before McDade's two-run single to center gave Middle Tennessee a 5-3 edge.

The Raiders added a run in the fourth after Drew Robertson led off with a double and Ray followed with a walk. Warren hit into a doubleplay, but Robertson later scored on a wild pitch. Kendrick was hit and Bishop walked to load the bases, ending the day for Goldberg, but Ervin struck out to end the inning against reliever Travis Johnson.

Middle Tennessee missed a good opportunity to add to the lead in the fifth, loading the bases again when Zach Barrett was hit, Robertson reached on an error and Ray drew his third walk of the game. But again Warren grounded into a doubleplay, with USA second baseman Ryne Jernigan making a nice play up the middle to start the 4-6-3 twin-killing.

The Raiders finally added to the lead with a pair of runs in the seventh, the first on a leadoff solo home run to right from McDade, his third of the year. With two outs Ray tripled past a diving Toomey down the leftfield line and scored on Warren's single to center for an 8-3 advantage.

The Jaguars cut into the lead with three runs in the bottom of the inning. Pinch-hitter Russell Harben singled with one out. He moved to second on a balk and scored on Toomey's single to right. Ray Kruml followed with a single to center before a two-out walk to Jeff Cunningham from reliever Shay Horseman loaded the bases.

Laird singled to center against Alvis, plating two runs. Alvis then hit Collins to load the bases again before Ray made a nice play on a slow roller to end the inning with the Blue Raiders clinging to a two-run edge.

Alvis struck out the side in the eighth and Reilley got three straight outs in the ninth, including a lineout from David Doss and a strikeout of Cunningham to end the contest.

The two teams play again Saturday at 3 p.m. The contest will be the first in the Sun Belt baseball television package this season and will be shown on Comcast Cable Channel 27 in the Midstate.

Senior Adam Warren returned to the starting lineup after missing six games. He was hurt in the first inning on April 8 at Arkansas-Little Rock and had only a pinch-hit single at Vanderbilt since ... Sophomore Grant Box made his second straight start as the designated hitter ... Matt Ray drew a career-high four walks in the contest.

A note for all parents - the annual Family Day Fish Fry will be held Saturday, May 5, after the 3 p.m. contest against Florida Atlantic. Please let Bobby Hines know if you are planning to attend.

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