Weekly Blue Raider NotebookMay 11, 2004 · MT Media Relations
BLUE RAIDERS EXPLODE OVER WEEKEND: Middle Tennessee posted one of the most memorable weekends in school history last week at New Orleans, shutting out the league-leading Privateers in three straight games and exploding for an 18-0 victory in Sunday's finale in a seven-inning game. The Blue Raider pitching staff did not allow a run in 27 innings of work, striking out 33 and allowing just 13 hits. Middle Tennessee won 2-0 in 11 innings on Friday night and 2-0 again on Saturday, as senior John Williams tossed a complete-game, three-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts. Junior Chris Mobley matched All-America candidate Thomas Diamond pitch-for-pitch on Friday night, with Mobley tossing 7.1 scoreless innings. The righthander allowed just five hits and struck out 10. A pair of relievers - Steve Kline and Matt Scott - worked the final 3.2 innings in a 2-0, 11-inning victory, giving up two hits and striking out six. On Sunday sophomore BJ Church worked six scoreless innings, striking out six and allowing three hits with one walk. Junior Eric Blevins worked the final inning of the seven-inning game, an 18-0 victory that was stopped short by the 10-run rule. The Blue Raiders struck out 33 and allowed 13 hits in 27 innings of work, walking seven. UNO batted just .146 in the three games. Offensively the Blue Raiders scratched across a pair of runs in each of the first two games of the series before exploding for 18 runs on 20 hits in Sunday's contest. The last time Middle Tennessee had 20 hits in a conference game was April 6, 2002, at New Mexico State when the team tallied 22 hits. The last time the Blue Raiders scored at least 18 runs in a league outing was April 10, 1999, at Austin Peay when the club scored 20 runs.
MORE ON UNO WEEKEND: The sweep at New Orleans 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. The three straight shutouts have happened just one other time in the last 28 years, with Middle Tennessee shutting out Sewanee twice and Western Kentucky once. The Blue Raiders have posted two straight shutouts just six times since 1976, with the last time during the 2000 season. The staff lowered the team ERA to 3.79, dropping it almost a quarter of a point over the weekend. Middle Tennessee ranks 31st nationally this week in team ERA.
BEACHUM REMAINS HOT: Sophomore Jeff Beachum went 8-for-13 (.615) in the weekend series at New Orleans, as the Blue Raiders swept the Privateers to move into first place in the Sun Belt. The sophomore shortstop was 3-for-4 in the opener on Friday, a 2-0 victory, before going 4-for-5 with four RBIs in the series finale. Beachum had a two-run single in the fourth and RBI singles in the fifth and sixth on Sunday to help the Blue Raiders sweep a road conference series for the first time since 2001. The four hits tied a career-high for the third time this season and the four RBIs was a new career high. The Cordova, Tenn., native raised his batting average to .328 for the season with four home runs and 26 RBIs. He is 13-for-22 (.591) in his last five games with two doubles, five runs scored and five RBIs. The shortstop has started all but one game and 96 of the last 97 contests dating to last season. He needs two runs, two RBIs and seven hits to pass his season totals of a year ago and to this point, has done it with 30 less at-bats.
CARROLL COMES BACK AFTER SCARY MOMENT: Junior Brett Carroll took a 92-mph fastball in the helmet Friday night, causing the third baseman to leave the game after a welt formed on the side of his head. After a CAT Scan was negative, the Knoxville, Tenn., native returned to the lineup Saturday, though head coach Steve Peterson gave him every opportunity to sit out the contest. Carroll doubled home a run in the game, missing a three-run homer by a matter of feet in the 2-0 victory. On Sunday he doubled and added three RBIs in the series finale. The Bearden HS product has six doubles, three home runs, eight runs scored and 17 RBIs in his last 12 games. He ranks first or second on the club in hits (65), doubles (19), home runs (10) and RBIs (41) this season and is third in runs scored (36).
PROFESSIONAL HITTER: Senior Derek Phillips worked his way into the lineup earlier in the season with his hot bat, and the Knoxville, Tenn., native has not slowed down at the plate all season. Phillips leads the Blue Raiders with a .400 batting average this season in 40 games played. He has hit safely in 32 of his 35 starts, ranks second on the team in doubles (12) and third in RBIs (30) despite almost 60 less at-bats than team leaders in the categories. The lefthanded hitter has started the last 20 games at first base, playing the position for the first time in his career, and has 16 multi-hit games this season. The Halls HS product carries a five-game hitting streak into Tuesday's contest against Memphis, collecting 10 hits in 20 at-bats (.500) with six runs scored and nine RBIs. He lugged out his first career triple in Sunday's game, going 3-for-5 with two runs scored and one RBI to finish the series sweep. Phillips also leads the club in hitting in Sun Belt games, producing a .432 batting average in 19 games with 10 extra-base hits.
CAREER DAYS: Middle Tennessee head football coach Andy McCollum and assistant head coach Kevin Fouquier have been lending their time to participate in Career Days at some of the local elementary schools. McCollum has already participated in an event at Bellwood Elementary and is scheduled to visit Cason Lane Elementary on Wednesday. Fouquier spoke at Northfield Elementary this past Friday. The two spend about two hours at each school speaking about being a football coach to the students.
MOVING ON UP: The MiddleTennessee men's track team is ranked No. 17 nationally in this week's Trackwire Top 25 poll after a strong showing in the Sun Belt Conference championship meet last weekend. The Blue Raiders, who have been in the Top 25 all but one week during the outdoor season, is tied for No. 17 with Minnesota and Arizona. Following is the Trackwire Top 25 for men: 1 Arkansas 2 LSU 3 Florida 4 Auburn 5 Ohio State 6 Nebraska 6 Baylor 8 Arizona State 9 Texas Christian 10 Southern Methodist 11 Stanford 12 Southern California 13 Texas 14 UCLA 14 Wisconsin 16 Georgia 17 MIDDLE TENNESSEE 17 Minnesota 17 Arizona 20 Oregon 20 Texas Tech 22 Indiana 23 California 23 Rice 23 Tennessee 23 Texas A&M
ON A MISSION: Middle Tennessee senior track standout Mardy Scales is a man on a mission. The defending NCAA 100-meter champion has his sites set on repeating as national champion in 2004, and the five-time All-American made quite a statement at the Sun Belt Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships last weekend. Scales, who was named the SBC's Outstanding Men's Track Performer following the championship meet, won the 100-meter with a time of 10.12, which established new school, conference and championship records. The time was the fastest turned in by a collegiate runner this season, and it was also the sixth fastest time in the world in 2004. Scales is now listed No. 1 nationally in the 100-meter by Trackwire's Dandy Dozen. He is No. 3 nationally in the 200-meters. Scales also won the 200-meter dash and was on the Middle Tennessee winning 4X100 relay team.
HOLMES MAKES ALL-STATE TEAM: The organization's members have named Middle Tennessee's Patrice Holmes to the Tennessee Sports Writer's Association's college basketball all-state team. Holmes joins University of Tennessee players Tasha Butts and Shyra Ely, Austin Peay's Gerlon Hardin and Chattanooga's Katasha Brown on the all-state women's team.
SOFTBALL HEADS TO SBC TOURNEY: Middle Tennessee enters the Sun Belt Tournament as the 3rd seed. The Lady Raiders will play No. 6 seed New Mexico State at 11 a.m. on Thursday. This is the third time in four years the Lady Raiders have faced New Mexico State in the first round, and Middle Tennessee is a perfect 2-0 in those games. Overall, the Lady Raiders are 17-2 against New Mexico State. The winner will face No. 2 seed Florida International at 4:30 p.m.
KRUSE, VENTER HEADED TO NCAAS: Seniors Manon Kruse and Carien Venter have been selected to play in the NCAA Women's Singles and Doubles Championship. Kruse will make her third consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament while Venter will be appearing for the first time. Kruse, ranked 41st in the ITA, will compete in singles and with partner Venter in doubles. Kruse and Venter are currently ranked 11th in the ITA in doubles.
GROGAN SIGNS WITH SOCCER TEAM: Holly Grogan has signed a national letter-of-intent with Middle Tennessee and becomes the sixth Blue Raider signee of in the 2004 signing class. The 5-foot-10 forward/midifielder attended Claverham Community Collegein Bexhill, England. "Holly is a strong player with a physical presence as a forward," Rhoden said. "She is strong in the air and very good at creating space for herself and her teammates. Holly has a great work ethic and will help us generate a potent and varied offense. She will be a very exciting player to watch." Grogan has a wealth of International experience in Europe and was an England National Player. Her team also won the county cup, and Grogan was a four-time recipient of the high school sports woman award, as well as serving as county team champion for four years. The honor student also participated in cross country. Grogan joins Kaley Forrest, Franklin (Tenn.) High School; Jenny Manis, Washington (Fla.) High School; Halley Dawe, Westwood (Texas) High School, Debs Brereton, a transfer from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Okla; and Courtney Dunlap, Donelson Christian (Tenn.) Academy, as 2004 Blue Raider signees.
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