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Scott Takes Perfect Game into Eighth in 8-2 Victory

May 25, 2005 · MT Media Relations
MIAMI, Fla. - Matt Scott tossed seven perfect innings and Eric McNamee backed him up with four hits, three runs, two RBIs and two terrific defensive plays in Middle Tennessee's 8-2 victory over New Mexico State in the first round of the 2005 Sun Belt Championships at University Park.

Scott (10-1) was perfect through seven innings before a leadoff single in the eighth from NMSU's Mark Aranda. The Aggies scored twice in the inning, but Scott got the final six outs with little other problems in his fourth complete game of the season.

McNamee, who was left off the All-Sun Belt teams announced Tuesday evening, took it out on NMSU, singling four times and scoring three other runs, as well as driving in a pair in the second inning to help the Blue Raiders build an early 3-0 lead.

But the story of the day was Scott, who tossed the first two-hitter in SBC Tournament play since South Alabama's Jerry Rub gave up two in 1986 to UNC-Charlottte. Scott threw only 101 pitches and retired the side in order in eight of the nine innings. He did not allow a walk and struck out five.

New Mexico State starter Dustin Cameron (6-9) pitched well for six innings before running into trouble. The righthander gave up nine hits and five runs in 6.1 innings while in the contest before giving way to the bullpen.

Michael McKenry added two hits, and Nate Jaggers and Nathan Hines both drove in a pair of runs in the victory. The Blue Raiders won their third straight SBC Tournament opener and moved to 8-2 in the last three conference tournaments.

The Raiders scored in the first inning for the seventh straight contest, with McNamee reaching on a leadoff infield single and moving to second on a throwing error by NMSU shortstop Robby Schildgen. Todd Martin's grounder to second moved to the runner to third, and a sacrifice fly to right from Jaggers plated McNamee for a 1-0 advantage.

Middle Tennessee added to the lead in the second with three more runs, none hit hard but in just the right place.

Jeff Beachum reached on a swinging bunt and Marcus Taylor fisted a single into right with one out. Josh Archer drew a two-walk to load the bases before McNamee blooped a single into rightcenter, plating Beachum and Taylor for a 3-0 lead.

McNamee's leadoff walk in the fifth led to another Middle Tennessee run, as the senior stole second and scored on a single to center from Jaggers for a 4-0 edge.

The Blue Raiders put three more runs on the board in the seventh, chasing Cameron from the contest.

Archer drew a one-out walk to start the rally, and McNamee followed with a single to center. Martin walked to load the bases, and pinch-runner Josh Horn scored on a wild pitch. Jaggers walked to load the bases again before Hines laced a two-out single to left, giving Middle Tennessee a 7-0 advantage.

The Aggies finally broke through against Scott in the eighth, with Aranda fisting a single into right to leadoff, breaking up the no-hitter and perfect game. Luke Hopkins followed with a two-run homer to rightcenter, his 14th of the season, ending the shutout and cutting the lead to 7-2.

Middle Tennessee got a run back in its half of the eighth, with Taylor and Adam Warren both drawing walks to leadoff. Horn's sacrifice bunt moved both runners up before McNamee singled sharply to center, plating Taylor.

The Blue Raiders play again Thursday at 6:30 p.m. ET against the winner of the day's last game, pitting top-seeded Louisiana-Lafayette and eighth-seeded Western Kentucky.

GAME NOTES
The meeting between the Blue Raiders and Aggies is the first in the Sun Belt Championships ... Middle Tennessee scored in the first inning for the seventh straight game, as Eric McNamee reached base to leadoff the first inning for the 32nd time in 52 games ... McNamee extended his career-long hitting streak to 12 games with a leadoff single in the first ... Jeff Beachum extended his hitting streak to nine games with a single in the second ... Nate Jaggers extended his hitting streak to seven games with an RBI single in the fifth ... Scott tossed his fourth complete game of the season and became the first 10-game winner at Middle Tennessee since Dewon Brazelton in 2001 (13). The righthander also did not walk a batter and has issued just one free pass in the last 40.1 innings dating to April 30 at Arkansas State ... The Blue Raiders improve to 4-1 all-time in SBC Tournament openers, including three straight wins, and are 11-5 in SBC Tournament play. Middle Tennessee is also 34-12 in the month of May since the start of the 2003 season.

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