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Baseball Falls in Rubber Game, 3-1

April 24, 2005 · MT Media Relations
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - South Alabama's P.J. Walters struck out nine and gave up one run in his second complete game of the year, as the Jaguars defeated Middle Tennessee, 3-1, Sunday to win the series at Reese Smith Field.

Walters walked just one and allowed nine hits, six in the final three innings, but was able to work his way out of jams in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, including a game-ending doubleplay. The righthander gave up a run in the first inning and retired 14 straight batters until a Jeff Beachum in the seventh.

The visiting Jaguars scored single runs in the seventh and eighth to break a 1-1 tie to win for the fourth time in the last six meetings in Murfreesboro.

Middle Tennessee starter Tyler Copeland (4-2) came out on the short end of the low-scoring affair, giving up two runs on six hits in six-plus innings, walking two and striking out two. Reliever Jeff Kasser pitched well, allowing an unearned run on two hits in three innings.

The Blue Raiders got on the board in the first with a leadoff single from Eric McNamee followed by a run-scoring double to rightcenter by Todd Martin.

The Jaguars tied the game in the fourth with a towering home run into the wind from Aaron George, his fourth of the season.

Both starting pitchers cruised along until USA got singles from Josh Morgan and Quendon Montgomery to leadoff the seventh and chased Copeland.

A sacrifice bunt moved both runners up, but Kasser induced a ground ball back to the mound and got Morgan in a run-down between home and third.

But Guillermo Martinez came through with two outs, singling past a diving McNamee and into rightfield, scoring Montgomery. Marcus Taylor saved another run by gunning down Jeff Morris at the plate, but not before the Jaguars held a 2-1 advantage.

Middle Tennessee threatened in the bottom of the inning with a pair of two-out singles, from Beachum and pinch-hitter Adam Darby, putting runners on the corners. But Josh Archer flied out to end the threat with the Blue Raiders still trailing by a run.

USA added a run on a pair of errors in the eighth. Tyler Jones sliced a ball down the third base line where Nate Jaggers dove and made a great stop. The throw went straight through the glove of Archer at first, with Jones moving to second on the play.

The next pitch was in the dirt, and Michael McKenry's throw to third was well wide of the bag and into leftfield, allowing Jones to score for a 3-1 Jaguars edge.

Again the Blue Raiders threatened with two outs, this time in the eighth. Nate Jaggers singled and a wind-blown double from McKenry put runners on second and third. But Nathan Hines struck out looking to end the threat, Walters's eighth punchout of the game.

In the bottom of the ninth Beachum and Chase Eakes both singled, but Walters got a 6-4-3 game-ending doubleplay from Archer to end the contest.

McNamee and Beachum both had a pair of hits for the Blue Raiders.

Middle Tennessee hosts Vanderbilt Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Reese Smith Field.

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