Six home runs lift Owls over MT 13-7

Hines hit two of Blue Raiders four home runs on Friday

March 21, 2008 · MT Media Relations
BOCA RATON, Fla. - Middle Tennessee hit four home runs but it was not enough as Florida Atlantic took a 13-7 win on its way to hitting six home runs.

FAU (14-6, 4-1) scored all but four of its runs on home runs as Mike McKenna hit three long balls to each part of the outfield to bring in seven runs for the Owls. McKenna ended the night 4 for 5 with seven RBI and scored three runs.

"The wind was blowing out and a lot of home runs were hit. It was obviously a great hitter's night. FAU going into the series is one of the top offensive clubs in the Sun Belt let alone the country. They are really scoring a lot of runs which they did tonight," head coach Steve Peterson said.

For Middle Tennessee (10-5-1, 3-3), junior Nathan Hines launched two of his own out of the park as he ended the night 3 for 4 with five RBI and scored two runs.

Senior Brad Robinson took the loss on the mound as allowed seven runs on eight hits in four innings of work. Freshmen Tyler Hyde and Michael Adamson pitched four combined innings in relief allowing six runs on four hits.

Mickey Storey notched the win on the mound for the Owls as he pitched six innings allowing two runs on seven hits with five strikeouts.

"Storey really whipped us. He probably ran out of pitches this early in the season and I give Coach Cooney a lot of credit. He felt like he had the game in-hand and went to the bullpen," Peterson said. "We were able to put a five-spot up to close it in but we got to where we had the tying or winning run right there. My starter gave up seven and the bullpen gave up six so we either had to score 14 or hold them to six but either way it was a tough night."

As a team the Blue Raiders scored seven runs on 12 hits with four home runs but left 10 runners on base. Senior Zach Barrett, freshman Tyler Burnett and junior Rawley Bishop each posted two hits for Middle Tennessee.

"I was glad to see Bishop finally get into a baseball and Tyler Burnett is swinging the bat well. We have an offensive team that can do it. We have two games left in the series and we have to come out, be aggressive and swing the bat well" Peterson said.

FAU's McKenna started the scoring as he hit a two-run home run to right field in the bottom of the first to put the Owls up 2-0.

Hines tied the game in the top of the third as he launched one over the right field fence to drive in Robertson

McKenna hit his second consecutive home run in response to the Blue Raiders' scoring to put FAU up 3-2. FAU hit back-to-back home runs as the next batter Tom Hatcher hit one over the left field wall to give the Owls a two-run lead.

In his next at-bat, McKenna hit his third home run of the game. This time it was to center field and scored three runs to give the Owls a five-run lead in the bottom of the fourth.

FAU's Nick Arata added another home run, this time it was good for three runs to extend the lead 10-2. The Owls scored their last six runs with two outs in the inning.

Hines cut the lead in half with his three-run home run in the top of the seventh inning to give the Blue Raiders some momentum. Then Bishop hit one out to centerfield to add another run for Middle Tennessee and cut the Owls lead 10-6. The next Blue Raider batter, Zach Dean added his own long ball putting Middle Tennessee within three.

Travis Ozga responded as the lead-off batter in the bottom of the seventh as he hit a long ball to right field to pad the lead for the Owls.

In the top of the eighth McKenna continued to lead the Owls with his RBI double to centerfield to extend the lead 12-7 for the Owls.

Middle Tennessee will play game two of its three-game series with the Owls on Saturday March 22 at 3 p.m.

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.