This Week in Blue Raider BaseballMay 17, 2004 · MT Media Relations
The Middle Tennessee baseball team will give away two more Southwest Airlines round-trip tickets on Saturday, May 22, on Fan Appreciation and WGNS Day at Reese Smith Field. Don Wright of Billboard Consultants has again donated the airline tickets, two round-trip fares anywhere in the continental U.S. to be given away in a drawing in the eighth inning during the final Sun Belt series of the year against Arkansas-Little Rock. The Blue Raiders want to thank fans for their support this season, helping set a single-game attendance record of 3,020 against Vanderbilt on April 20 and helping to establish a new single-season attendance mark against Memphis on May 11. Fans get to keep all foul balls courtesy of Jeff Jordan & Brian Barrett of WGNS Radio. The first pitch will be thrown by Jake Bolden accompanied by Jeff Jordan. Also, anyone 13 and under will be admitted free to the contest.
Baseball Tournament Ticket Packages On Sale
Ticket packages for the upcoming Dodge Sun Belt Conference Baseball Tournament are on sale for $25 at the University of South Alabama Ticket Office. The four-day, double-elimination tournament will be held May 26-29 at Stanky Field on the USA campus. Eight conference teams will battle for an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Each day consists of four games divided into morning and evening sessions. Games are scheduled for 9:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. for the first three days. The championship game is slated for Saturday afternoon. Session tickets will go on sale beginning May 24 at the USA Ticket Office. Students who attend each Sun Belt institution will be admitted to each session for just $1 while presenting valid university identification. For more information on tickets, call 251/460-6047.
Chuck Taylor Date Announced
Middle Tennessee head baseball coach Steve Peterson has announced the annual Chuck Taylor Golf Tournament will be played at Indian Hills Golf Course on June 1, 2004. As usual, the event will be a four-person scramble with prizes awarded for first through fifth place. Prizes will also be given for Closest-to-the-Pin and Longest Drive. A hole-in-one on any par 3 on the course will be awarded prizes as well. Each entry into the tournament will receive a barbecue lunch, a goody bag, free beverages on the course, a red tee and mulligan, and a chance for a big money prize for an ace on hole number seven. The entry fee is $115 per player. The tournament committee is also seeking hole sponsors for $100 each. Registration for the tournament is slated to begin at 11:30 a.m. with a shotgun start scheduled for 1 p.m. For further information or to obtain a registration form, please contact Tommy Wheeler at 615/890-3333 or 615/893-8498. Entries may be mailed to: Blue Raider Baseball, MTSU Box 90, Murfreesboro, TN 37132. When sending in an entry, please include the names and addresses of each player in the foursome along with your entry fee.
Baseball Camps Upcoming
Middle Tennessee's baseball camps have been set, with three camps in June and one in July. The Pitcher and Catcher Camp for Ages 13 thru High School Senior is June 13-15, while the Hitting Camp for the same age group is June 15-17. Day camp for ages 7-12 will be June 21-24. The Blue Raiders have added a Team Camp to the slate this year, set for July 12-15. Camp information may be found on the baseball page at GoBlueRaiders.com or by calling 615/898-2450.
Beachum Continues Hot Stretch
Sophomore Jeff Beachum went 8-for-13 (.615) in the weekend series at New Orleans on May 7-9, as the Blue Raiders swept the Privateers. 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. He is 15-for-29 (.517) in his last seven games with two doubles, nine runs scored and five RBIs. The shortstop has started all but one game and 98 of the last 99 contests dating to last season.
Derek Phillips - 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 .406 batting average this season in 42 games played. He has hit safely in 34 of his 37 starts, ranks second on the team in doubles (12) and third in RBIs (34) despite almost 60 less at-bats than team leaders in the categories. The lefthanded hitter has started the last 22 games at first base, playing the position for the first time in his career, and has 18 multi-hit games this season. The Halls HS product carries a seven-game hitting streak into Wednesday's contest at Vanderbilt, collecting 14 hits in 27 at-bats (.519) with 11 runs scored and 13 RBIs. He lugged out his first career triple on May 9 at New Orleans, 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. Phillips went 4-for-7 against Memphis on May 11-12, belting a home run in each contest and scoring four times while driving in four runs.
Kline Excelling as Stopper
Junior Steve Kline began this season as the Sunday starter for the Blue Raiders but struggled in that role. He has since moved to the bullpen with much greater success, picking up five saves in 10 relief outings this year and posting a 1-0 mark with a 2.95 ERA in 18.1 innings of work. The lefthander has 23 strikeouts and has allowed just six runs. He picked up a pair of saves against Western Kentucky on May 1-2, getting the final three outs on Saturday, including a doubleplay, before tossing 3.1 scoreless innings on Sunday versus the Hilltoppers. The Murfreesboro, Tenn., native worked out of a tough jam at New Orleans on May 7, entering the game with a pair of runners on and one out in a scoreless game in the eighth inning. Kline got a pair of strikeouts to end the threat, UNO's best chance of the night, and the Blue Raiders won 2-0 in 11 innings.
McNamee Excelling in Host of Areas
Junior Eric McNamee has been the cog in the Blue Raider offense since the season opener and has done so from the leadoff position for 46 games. The second baseman has hit safely in 40 of 50 starts this season, batting above or in the vicinity of the .400 mark all year. He hit better than .400 for the first 30 games of the season and is currently at .389, ranking second behind the .408 average of senior Derek Phillips. McNamee leads the Blue Raiders in runs (62), hits (77) and walks (42) and also has 11 doubles, two triples, three home runs and 21 RBIs and a .490 on-base percentage. The Columbia State CC transfer leads the club with 19 multi-run and 26 multi-hit games this season, including nine three-hit contests and one four-hit outing. At no point during the season has the Father Ryan HS product gone hitless in consecutive games, and he also has 11 contests this season with multiple walks, including his second four-walk outing of the year on May 2 versus Western Kentucky. His 26 multi-hit games ranks as the seventh-most in the last six years.
Akers Moving Up Career Lists
Senior Chuck Akers ranks in the Top 10 in Blue Raider history in eight offensive categories, including hits, games played and runs scored. Akers is third on the all-time hits list with 227 behind only Mudcat Brewer (245, 1991-94) and Clay Snellgrove (269, 1994-97). He is tied for first in games played with 224 with Snellgrove and is second in singles with 182 behind Snellgrove (194). Akers moved past George Zimmerman (1986-89, 148) and into fifth in runs scored with 151. He is second in at-bats (814), again with Snellgrove first (831), and is tied for third with current teammate Brett Carroll and two others in hit pitches with 19. Akers has the most sacrifice hits in school history with 27 currently, as well.
Carroll Also Adding Name to Career Records
Junior Brett Carroll continues to add his name to the Blue Raider career record book, ranking in the Top 10 in six categories, including doubles, home runs and total bases. He has moved into fourth on the all-time list in doubles with 49, passing Bryan Peck (1999-00) and two behind George Zimmerman (1986-89) and Mudcat Brewer (1991-94). The Knoxville, Tenn., native is third with 36 career home runs, passing Doug Barner (1993-94) and Chris Whitehead (1986-88). Carroll is currently seventh on the total bases list with 339 and moved into the Top 10 in RBIs against Memphis, ranking eighth with 127. He also tied for third with current teammate Chuck Akers and two others in hit pitches with 19.
Senior Derek Phillips and sophomore Jeff Beachum each carry seven-game hitting streaks into Wednesday's contest at Vanderbilt. Phillips has hit safely in 34 of his 37 starts this season and has collected 14 hits in 27 at-bats (.519) with 11 runs scored and 13 RBIs in the seven games. The first baseman has four home runs, a double and a triple in those outings, as well. Beachum has been equally impressive in his seven contests, going 15-for-29 (.517) with two doubles, nine runs scored and five RBIs. Junior Nate Jaggers has hit safely in six consecutive games and eight of nine, collecting one hit in each contest and two hits off the bench against Memphis on May 11. Junior Brett Carroll and senior Chuck Akers head into the contest with the Commodores on four-game hitting streaks. Carroll has one hit in each of the four outings with four runs scored and nine RBIs, while Akers is 5-for-14 with five runs scored.
Notes from the Memphis Series
Senior Chuck Akers doubled twice against Memphis on May 11, just the second time in his career he had recorded a pair of tw-baggers in the same game ... Senior Derek Phillips scored three times in the same contest, just the second three-run outing of his career ... Junior Eric Blevins tossed four shutout innings in the contest, matching his career-high with five strikeouts to get his first career save ... Junior Chase Swing made his sixth career start in the game and first since May 23, 2002, versus New Orleans in the Sun Belt Championships in Mobile, Ala. The leadoff batter tripled, the first triple Swing has allowed at Middle Tennessee ... Junior Josh Archer went 3-for-4 in the contest, his second straight three-hit game. He had one three-hit game this season prior to the last two games ... The Blue Raiders set a single-season attendance record on Tuesday, with the announced crowd of 628 pushing the season total to 25,566 ... The Blue Raider pitching staff allowed just two hits in the game, the second time they have done that this season, with the other against Southwest Missouri State on March 12. The team's scoreless innings streak was snapped at 30.1 when Memphis scored in the top of the first in the contest ... Junior Danny Borne upped his record to 2-0 this season with 2.2 shutout innings against the Tigers on May 12, striking out three. Borne has won five straight decisions dating to last season ... Junior Eric McNamee did not play in the contest, his first missed game of the season. McNamee was held out of the lineup due to nagging injuries ... The Blue Raiders were out-hit, 11-8, in the game, only the third win this year when an opponent has more hits than Middle Tennessee ... Middle Tennessee moved to 34-17 for the season with a season-high seventh straight win.
Williams Climbing Career Lists
Senior John Williams will leave his mark on Blue Raider baseball as one of the most successful pitchers in school history and continues to climb toward the top of four career lists. Williams made his 47th career start on May 8 at New Orleans, passing Dave Richardson (1985-88) for second on the all-time list. He picked up his second straight win of the season against UNO, the 21st of his career, good for sixth, while the lefthander ranks fourth on the career list in innings pitched (298.1). He struck out 10 in the win and ranks third on the strikeouts list. Junior righthander Chris Mobley is also in the Top 10 in strikeouts, ranking seventh with 208.
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