Williams Dominates Privateers in Another 2-0 Win

May 8, 2004 · MT Media Relations
NEW ORLEANS, La. - John Williams tossed a three-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts while Eric McNamee scored a pair of runs for Middle Tennessee in a 2-0 victory over New Orleans here Saturday afternoon at Maestri Field. The Blue Raiders clinch their fifth straight series win and the first heading into a Sunday contest all season.

Williams (6-3) was extremely efficient in shutting out UNO for the second straight day after Middle Tennessee won 2-0 in 11 innings on Friday night. The senior lefthander threw 115 pitches and gave up a pair of singles and a double. He walked only one in the game and faced just three batters over the minimum.

It was Williams second complete game of the year. It was also his fourth double-digit strikeout performance in 2004 and first since recording 14 strikeouts at New Mexico State on March 28.

McNamee scored a run in the sixth and the eighth, more than enough for Williams and the Blue Raiders.

"John was not to be denied today," Blue Raider head coach Steve Peterson said. "Usually with 10 strikeouts you run up a high pitch count, but he didn't do that today and was strong all the way through."

UNO starter J.P. Martinez (5-3) pitched very well before running out of gas in the eighth. The righthander allowed two runs on seven hits, walking four and striking out six. He gave up just four hits in the first seven innings before allowing three hits and a run in the eighth.

"We knew coming into the weekend that UNO had very good pitching and Martinez had great breaking stuff today. But it was just too much John Williams."

The Blue Raiders (31-17, 12-8 SBC) had a pair of singles and two walks against Martinez in the first five innings but failed to score, putting together just one scoring chance. Chuck Akers drew a leadoff walk in the fourth and moved to third on a pair of groundouts, but Nate Jaggers grounded out to end the inning.

McNamee drew a leadoff walk in the sixth and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Akers. Derek Phillips then ripped the first pitch to rightfield and McNamee just beat the throw from Ryan Meyer, sliding in backside for a 1-0 Blue Raider lead.

"I wondered [midway through the game] if we'd ever start hitting, but we got enough. Derek [Phillips] came up with a big hit and it was a great slide by [Eric] McNamee. He got his hand in on the back of the plate and the tag was just late," Peterson said.

McNamee started a rally again in the eighth with a bloop double to center. Akers then singled to left, moving McNamee to third, but was out trying to move to second after the relay throw was cut off. Phillips was intentionally walked, bringing Brett Carroll to the plate.

The junior, who left the game on Friday night after being hit in the helmet by a pitch from Thomas Diamond, laced a double off the wall down the leftfield line, missing a home run by just a few feet. McNamee scored his second run of the game on Carroll's first hit of the series for a 2-0 Middle Tennessee advantage.

"Carroll's really been struggling but it just shows the toughness of the kid. We gave him every chance to stay out of the lineup [Saturday] but he was ready to go. He battled at the plate and got a pitch to hit. We got some clutch hitting and it was a big win."

UNO (23-23, 9-7) had the best scoring opportunity in the early innings, getting an infield single from Joe Pietro and a walk by Meyer to start the bottom of the fourth. Williams got a flyout before inducing a ground ball to third, where Carroll stepped on the bag and fired to first. Phillips caught the throw off the bag and made the tag to finish the inning-ending doubleplay.

The Privateers also had a two-out double in the fifth from Tony Gonzalez, but Justin Guy grounded out to Phillips at first to end the inning. Guy had the only other hit in the contest for UNO, a two-out single in the eighth.

The Blue Raider pitching staff has 20 strikeouts in the two games of the series and has not allowed a run in 23 innings dating to the sixth inning against Western Kentucky last Sunday. The Privateers have just 10 hits in the two games, as well.

Middle Tennessee produced seven hits in the contest and had six walks.

The two teams play the final game of the series Sunday at 1 p.m., with the Blue Raiders sending BJ Church (RHP, 3-0, 3.58) against UNO's Matt Crockett (LHP, 4-3, 5.35). Middle Tennessee returns home to face Memphis this week, hosting the Tigers Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Reese Smith Field.

"BJ has thrown very well and we feel confident in him. And since we didn't have to use the bullpen [Saturday], I've got all my bullets loaded in the chamber ready for Sunday," Peterson added.

Junior Eric McNamee drew his 40th walk of the season, tying Doug Barner (1996) for 10th on the single-season list at Middle Tennessee. He also scored his 59th and 60th runs of the year, tying Eddie Pye (1988) and Chris Whitehead (1986) for eighth on the single-season chart ... Senior Chuck Akers drew a leadoff walk in the fourth inning, his 94th career walk, tying for seventh on the career list with Craig Reavis (1993-95) and Steve Zitney (1973-76). Akers also added to his career record for sacrifice bunts with his 27th in the sixth inning ... Junior Brett Carroll belted an RBI double in the eighth, his 18th of the year and 48th of the year, moving into a tie for fourth on the all-time list with Bryan Peck (1999-00).

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