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Blue Raiders Fall 12-10 in 12th

MT and Vandy combine for 31 hits in five hour game

March 26, 2008 · MT Media Relations
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Vanderbilt's Curt Casali hit a walk-off two-run home run in the bottom of the 12th inning to give the No. 9 Commodores a 12-10 win on Wednesday night.

The two teams battled throughout the night with neither able to maintain a lead as they combined for 31 hits on the night with just three Vanderbilt errors. The two teams also left a combined 24 runners on base.

As a team the Blue Raiders scattered 10 runs on 14 hits led by junior Nathan Hines who ended the day 3 for 7. Juniors Taylor Dennis and Zach Dean and freshman Bryce Brentz all posted two hits for Middle Tennessee.

Brentz along with sophomore Blake McDade and junior Rawley Bishop all had two RBI for the Blue Raiders and Brentz, Dean and freshman Tyler Acker scored two runs apiece.

In 2007, the Blue Raiders played four extra inning games. Three of those four games were consecutive with the longest being 14 innings. This was the third extra inning game for Middle Tennessee this season.

The game against the Commodores is also the lengthiest time wise as it lasted five hours and eight minutes. The last time the Blue Raiders played a game longer than four hours was against Arkansas State on March 25, 2007 as that game lasted four hours and 27 minutes in a 7-5 win.

For the second consecutive game the Blue Raiders went deep into the bullpen this time using - pitchers. Junior Kevin Whittaker received the start as he allowed six runs on nine hits in four and a third innings for work. Junior Chad Coley took the loss as he allowed two runs on three hits in two and two-thirds innings of work.

Bishop hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield to put the Blue Raiders on the board first as Dean, who received a base on balls, scored from third to put Middle Tennessee up 1-0.

Vanderbilt answered in the bottom of the inning with a run of its own as Aaron Westlake singled which scored David Macias from second to tie the game. The Commodores added two more runs as Alex Feinberg singled to score Ryan Flaherty and Steven Liddle had a sacrifice fly to bring in Westlake, each from third as it took a 3-1 lead.

Middle Tennessee tied the game on two Vanderbilt errors with runners in scoring position. Sophomore Zach Hudson scored from third on a throwing error by the catcher trying to pick him off. Then Dennis scored from second on a muffed fly ball by the centerfielder.

The Blue Raiders regained the lead in the top of the fifth as Bishop singled up the middle bringing in senior Zach Barrett from third. Box added another run to the board as his single to right field with the bases loaded scored Dean. McDade extended Middle Tennessee's lead to four 7-3 with his two-run single to right field scoring runners from second and third. Middle Tennessee ended the inning with an 8-3 lead after scoring five runs on four hits.

Vanderbilt responded to the Blue Raiders in the bottom of the inning scoring one run on a bases loaded single to right field by Liddle. Freshman Matt Doss balked a runner in as the bases were loaded when the balk was called. Commodores' Feinberg then scored on a groundball by pinch hitter as White closed the gap but Middle Tennessee remained on top 8-6.

Junior Jordan Alvis balked with a runner at third to allow the Commodores to make it a one run game in the bottom of the sixth.

Middle Tennessee continued to perform well as Brentz scored on a sacrifice fly to centerfield by Dennis. With the bases loaded Barrett received a base on balls with a full count to bring in Acker and extend the lead to three 10-7.

Vanderbilt had an answer in the bottom of the inning as it scored on a groundball to third base to make it a two-run game. In the bottom of the eighth Dominic de la Osa tied the game at 10 with his two-run home run to left field.

Middle Tennessee will be back in action Friday, March 28 when it plays host to Arkansas- Little Rock in the first game of a three-game series. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. at Reese Smith Field. Live stats will be available on www.goblueraiders.com and Dick Palmer will have the weekend play-by-play on WMTS 88.9 and www.goblueraiders.com.

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