Williams Dominant Again in 6-0 Victory

May 22, 2004 · MT Media Relations
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - John Williams struck out 14 in eight-plus shutout innings while Nate Jaggers and Derek Phillips both drove in a pair of runs in a 6-0 Middle Tennessee victory over Arkansas-Little Rock Saturday afternoon at Reese Smith Field.

The win is the seventh in a row for the Blue Raiders in conference play and keeps the pressure on South Alabama to continue winning to stay a game ahead of Middle Tennessee in the league standings. USA played late Saturday against Louisiana-Lafayette.

Williams (7-3) had only one inning with more than one baserunner and did not allow a hit from the third until the eighth. He tied a season-high with the 14 strikeouts and lowered his team-leading ERA to 2.62 while tying his career high for wins in a season.

The Blue Raiders (36-18, 15-8 SBC) scored three times in the third, twice more in the fifth and added a run in the sixth, all against UALR starter Brad Cherry. Cherry (2-7) allowed five earned runs on seven hits in 5.2 innings, striking out five with four walks.

Phillips and Jaggers each had a pair of hits and two RBIs, while Eric McNamee scored twice in the contest.

In the third the Blue Raiders got on the board with three hits and a walk to take an early lead.

Eric McNamee drew a one-out walk before Chuck Akers beat out a bunt single. Derek Phillips then singled up the middle, plating McNamee and sending Akers to third. A wild pitch moved Phillips to second for Nate Jaggers, who singled through the right side to score a pair for a 3-0 advantage.

The Blue Raiders added two more runs in the fifth, as Troy Harp drew a leadoff walk, stole second and scored on McNamee's single to center. A stolen base and a throwing error put McNamee at third, and he scored on a groundout by Phillips for a 5-0 lead.

In the sixth Jaggers beat out an infield single, as did Shane Kemp. Jeff Beachum later drove home Jaggers with a sacrifice fly.

The Trojans (16-31, 6-17) threatened just once against Williams, getting a pair of singles and a walk with two walks in the third, but the lefthander struck out Chris Becker to end the threat.

The series concludes Sunday at 1 p.m. at Reese Smith Field. The Blue Raiders will then participate in the Dodge Sun Belt Championships, May 26-29, in Mobile, Ala.

Junior Nate Jaggers extended his hitting streak to nine games with a two-run single in the third ... Junior Eric McNamee drew his 44th walk of the season, moving him out of a tie and into sixth on the single-season list. McNamee's single in the fifth gives him 64 for the year, tying him for second with Josh Renick ... Senior John Williams struck out 14 in the contest, his fifth double-digit strikeout performance of the year and second in a row. He moved past Chris Norton (282, 1985-88) into second place on the career strikeouts list. Williams also ran his consecutive scoreless innings streak to 17.1 innings.

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