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Kemp, Beachum Help Raiders Sweep UNO

May 9, 2004 · MT Media Relations
NEW ORLEANS, La. - Jeff Beachum had four hits and four RBIs and Shane Kemp belted two home runs and had five RBIs for Middle Tennessee in an 18-0 victory over New Orleans here Sunday afternoon. The Blue Raiders recorded their first Sun Belt series sweep of the season and moved into first place in the league with their fifth straight win.

Middle Tennessee (32-17, 13-8) scored twice in the second and fourth and blew the contest open with a six-run fifth and an eight-run sixth, sending 23 batters to the plate in the two innings and collecting 14 runs on 14 hits.

Brett Carroll's two-run double capped the fifth inning before Kemp led off the sixth with a solo homer and later added a grand slam in the same inning, as the Blue Raiders pounded out 20 hits in the game after collecting 17 in the first two games of the series.

The Blue Raider pitching staff was also superb for the third straight outing, shutting out the Privateers for the third consecutive game. Sophomore BJ Church (4-0) won his fourth game and seventh straight decision dating to last season, allowing three hits with six strikeouts in six innings. Eric Blevins got the final three outs, including a game-ending 6-4-3 doubleplay.

The staff gave up only 13 hits for the weekend and struck out 33 batters, walking seven. UNO (23-24, 9-8) hit just .146 for the weekend and fell from first place to at least sixth place.

Middle Tennessee touched Privateers starter Matt Crockett (4-4) for five runs on seven hits in four-plus innings. The Blue Raiders then rattled the UNO bullpen, pounding out 13 hits and scoring 13 runs in three innings.

"We knew [UNO's] bullpen was tired and they had used their best guys already," Blue Raider head coach Steve Peterson said.

"I thought Chris LeGuenec did a great job going the other way and really had a presence at the plate. He set the tempo. And Shane Kemp and Derek Phillips and Josh Archer all hit the ball hard. It was just our day and a Happy Mother's Day all the way around for the Blue Raiders."

The Blue Raiders got two early runs in this game after waiting until late in the contest to score on Friday and Saturday.

LeGuenec and Kemp led off the second inning with seeing-eye singles, putting runners on the corners. Phillips then ripped a ball at UNO first baseman Dana Tosoni, who let it go right between the legs, allowing LeGuenec to score and Kemp to move to third.

Troy Harp collected his first hit of the series with a single to leftcenter, plating Kemp. The Raiders loaded the bases after a walk to Eric McNamee, but Chuck Akers flew out to right and Harp was picked off trying to take third on the play.

Middle Tennessee added two more runs in the fourth thanks to some wildness from Crockett.

The Privateers got two quick outs and Harp fell behind 0-2 before drawing a walk. McNamee got his second walk before Akers placed a perfect bunt, loading the bases. Beachum then hit a chopper over the third baseman's head and into leftfield, scoring Harp and McNamee for a 4-0 Blue Raider lead.

Middle Tennessee blew the game open in the fifth with six runs on six hits against three UNO pitchers.

A leadoff single to right by LeGuenec chased Crockett from the game in favor of Justin Garcia. Kemp reached on a fielder's choice, as pinch-runner Marcus Taylor beat the throw at second. Consecutive singles by Phillips and Archer scored a run, with Garcia exiting the contest.

A wild pitch allowed Kemp to score before Harp blooped a single to right, scoring Phillips. With two outs Beachum singled through the leftside, plating Archer, before Carroll's two-run double into leftcenter scored Harp and Beachum for a 10-0 advantage.

Middle Tennessee added eight more runs in the sixth, with 13 hitters coming to the plate.

Kemp lifted a high fly ball that just cleared the leftfield wall to leadoff the sixth, his 11th home run of the year. Phillips followed with his first career triple before Archer's RBI single to left. Beachum's fourth hit of the game, another infield single, scored a run, as did a bases-loaded walk to Carroll for a 14-0 Blue Raider lead.

Kemp then belted a full count pitch high over the wall in left for a grand slam, his second homer of the inning.

"Our pitching this weekend was outstanding. It couldn't be better," Peterson added. "BJ [Church] watched [Chris] Mobley and the bullpen throw well and John [Williams] had one of the most dominant performances of his career. So that puts a little pressure on BJ and he wants to throw well and he did that today. He had good pop on his fastball and finished the series for us."

Middle Tennessee returns home to face Memphis this week, hosting the Tigers Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Reese Smith Field.

GAME NOTES
Junior Chris LeGuenec made his third start of the year in leftfield and first since March 9 at Lipscomb. It was also his first start overall since March 26 at New Mexico State ... Junior Josh Archer made his first start since April 10 at Florida International. It was his first start as the designated hitter this season and second in the last two years ... Junior Eric McNamee walked twice in the contest, his 41st and 42nd free passes of the year, tying for seventh on the single-season list with Gary Myers (1992) and Kerry Maxwell (1978) ... Junior Brett Carroll doubled in the fifth, his 49th career two-bagger, moving past Bryan Pack for fourth on the career list ... Sophomore Jeff Beachum tied his career-high with four hits and drove in a career-high four runs in the game ... Senior Shane Kemp had his second two-homer game of the year and drove in a career-high five runs in the contest, all in the same inning ... The sweep was Middle Tennessee's first since May 10-12, 2002, against Arkansas-Little Rock, and the first road sweep since April 13-15, also versus UALR.

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