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Eight-Run Inning the Difference in 10-1 Loss

April 16, 2005 · MT Media Relations
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - Grady Hinchman tossed a complete game, giving up one run, and Western Kentucky exploded for eight runs in the seventh inning to break open a one-run game, defeating Middle Tennessee, 10-1, Saturday afternoon at Nick Denes Field.

Hinchman (1-3), the Hilltoppers ace from a year ago but struggling this season heading into Saturday's matchup, struck out eight and walked six in tossing his first complete-game of the season. The senior allowed a ninth-inning home run to Chase Eakes, spoiling the shutout, but picking up his first win of the season.

WKU scored a run in the first against Blue Raider starter Eric Blevins, but the senior righthander settled down and tossed six solid innings. In the seventh a leadoff walk started the Hilltoppers rally, with the wheels coming off for Middle Tennessee in the process.

Ben Cooper drew the free pass before a bunt down the first base line by Eric Scriven. Josh Archer fielded the ball but his throw was late to the bag, putting two on with no one out. Pinch-hitter Michael Wilhite then laid down another bunt that Blevins threw wildly past third and into the WKU bullpen, allowing two runs to score.

Matt Ransdell and Tim Grogan followed with singles, with the second hit scoring a run. Marcus Ross added an RBI single and Antone Towns doubled home two runs to chase Blevins from the contest. Reliever Tommy Sterritt balked in two more runs to finish off the eight-run inning for Western Kentucky.

Blevins (1-4) deserved better but took the loss, giving up seven runs and 13 hits in 6.2 innings. He walked two and struck out four.

The Blue Raiders (15-15, 3-4 Sun Belt) had just five hits in the contest, with Nate Jaggers' 13-game hitting streak ending with an 0-for-2 effort with two walks. Adam Warren had two of the five hits, his sixth multi-hit contest in the last seven games.

WKU (12-22, 3-8) got on the board with a single run in the first inning.

Ransdell was hit by the pitch with one out and moved to third on a bloop single by Grogan. A two-out single to left from Ross plated the run for an early 1-0 Hilltoppers lead.

The Blue Raiders wasted a leadoff double in the second from Adam Warren, stranding two runners in the inning. Middle Tennessee also left two runners on in the third after a single from Nathan Hines and a walk by Jaggers.

Blevins ran into little trouble through the first six innings, getting himself out of two situations by picking off runners at first.

In the sixth Jaggers drew a leadoff walk and Warren singled to left with one out. But long fly balls by Jeff Beachum and Eakes ended the threat with the Blue Raiders still trailing by a run.

The 'Toppers added a single run in the eighth when Ransdell singled and later scored on a sacrifice fly from Ross.

The series concludes Sunday at 1 p.m. Middle Tennessee hosts Memphis this week, Tuesday at 7 p.m. and Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Reese Smith Field.

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