Blue Raiders Claim 10-5 Win at USA

April 23, 2004 · MT Media Relations
MOBILE, Ala. - Middle Tennessee's Eric McNamee had three hits and scored three runs while starter Chris Mobley worked 6.1 strong innings to lead the Blue Raiders to a 10-5 victory over South Alabama here Friday night.

McNamee also drove in a run and was one of four Blue Raiders with multiple hits in the contest. Friday's win was Middle Tennessee's first in Mobile since joining the Sun Belt and first victory at Stanky Field since March 16, 1994.

The Blue Raiders (25-14, 7-6 SBC) got a run in the first and two more in the second to take a 3-0 lead. But the homestanding Jaguars got a pair of solo homers to cut the lead to 3-2.

A five-run fifth inning chased USA starter Jeremy Simmons, with McNamee driving in a run in the inning and Chuck Akers squeezing in McNamee one batter later. Brett Carroll then drove a hanging curveball over the leftfield wall for his eighth home run of the year.

USA (17-21, 6-4) cut the lead to 8-5 with two runs in the seventh and one in the eighth, but Shane Kemp and Nate Jaggers both had RBI hits in the top of the ninth to add insurance in the victory.

Mobley (6-3) allowed four runs on eight hits in 6.1 innings to get the win, striking out eight on a muggy night at the park. Chase Swing got four outs before Danny Borne picked up his first save of the year with the final four outs of the game.

Simmons (7-4) suffered the loss, allowing a season-high eight runs on nine hits with seven strikeouts.

Akers, Phillips and Kemp all had a pair of hits, while Akers scored twice and Carroll and Phillips drove in two runs apiece.

"We put a five-spot up and that really opened the game up," Middle Tennessee head coach Steve Peterson said. "The middle of the order drove in some runs and that was very encouraging, and Carroll has been struggling with runners on base, especially early in the game, and his towering home run was huge.

"Mobley threw well and was not real happy to be taken out. But I didn't want to take a chance and Swing and Borne came in and did the job."

McNamee singled to leadoff the game, went to second on a sacrifice bunt from Akers and scored on a two-out single to right by Phillips for an early 1-0 advantage.

McNamee doubled off the base of the centerfield wall to leadoff the third, a 400-foot shot. Akers bunted again, this one not great but it fell in the right place, past the diving Simmons and in front of the third baseman, putting runners on the corners with no one out.

Carroll struck out but reached on a wild pitch, with McNamee scoring on the play. Phillips then bounced into a fielder's choice, scoring Akers for a 3-0 lead.

Mobley made just one mistake in the first three innings, leaving a 1-0 fastball up and over the middle of the plate to nine-hole hitter Guillermo Martinez, who deposited it over the leftfield wall for his first homer of the season.

Mobley was unable to get away with a 3-0 fastball to the redhot Adam Lind to leadoff the fourth, with Lind's high fly ball clearing the leftfield wall, cutting the Blue Raider lead to 3-2.

Jeff Beachum started the big inning with a nine-pitch at-bat, pushing Simmons to the brink of the 100-pitch mark. Beachum lined out to center, but his hard work would pay off later in the frame.

Marcus Taylor was hit by an inside fastball and Troy Harp climbed out of an 0-2 hole to draw a walk. McNamee followed with a single into rightcenter, scoring Taylor. The throw in from centerfielder Clark Secchiari went to no one in particular and rolled all the way into the Jaguar dugout, allowing Harp to score and McNamee to move all the way to third.

Akers laid down a perfect suicide squeeze on the next pitch, scoring McNamee and giving Akers his second bunt single of the contest. Carroll chased Simmons when Simmons hung a 1-2 curveball and Carroll belted it over the wall in leftfield for an 8-2 Blue Raider lead.

"When you make an outfield error, you are asking for a big inning and we were able to take advantage," Peterson added. "Carroll's homer was the big blow but we also had some key hits in the inning as well."

South Alabama scored two runs in the seventh against Mobley to chase the Blue Raider righthander.

Martinez drew a leadoff walk before Brad Gordon singled up the middle. A wild pitch moved up both runners before a groundout by pinch-hitter Ben Froemming scored Martinez. Lind then hit a dribbler through the middle to plate Gordon, chasing Mobley from the game and cutting the Middle Tennessee lead to 8-4.

In the eighth Tim Land doubled with two outs and Martinez followed with a bloop single to center, scoring the run and making it 8-5 Blue Raiders.

Middle Tennessee added two insurance runs in the ninth against USA reliever Justin Rayborn, who retired nine batters in a row before a one-out single from Phillips. Kemp followed with his second double of the game with Phillips chugging around from first to score on the play. Nate Jaggers then sliced a single to right, plating Kemp for a 10-5 lead.

"I'm just as proud of the two runs we got in ninth. Kemp had a good night and it was good to see Jaggers get a hit and drive in the run."

The Blue Raiders and Jaguars play again Saturday at 2:30 p.m. on Comcast Sports Southeast, Cable Channel 27 in the midstate.

Senior Derek Phillips extended his hitting streak to nine games with an RBI single in the first ... Senior Chuck Akers extended his hitting streak to four games with a bunt single in the third ... Middle Tennessee scored 10 runs in the contest, the first double-digit game since March 23 against Troy State, a span of 19 games ... Danny Borne got his first save of the year, becoming the fourth Blue Raider with a save this season.

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