Blue Raiders win 13-6 to sweep SIU

Skinner and Miller both hit home runs for the second straight day

March 3, 2010 · Athletic Communications
Carbondale, Ill. - Middle Tennessee put on another impressive offensive performance on Wednesday, defeating Southern Illinois for their fifth straight win, 13-6. Justin Miller and Will Skinner each hit home runs for the second consecutive game, and Nick Montgomery recorded his third victory of the season.

"We had big innings," said Coach Steve Peterson. "Our offense is coming around, and it was a good series for us."

Offensively, the Blue Raiders were led once again by Miller, who hit his team-leading fifth home run a day after tying a school record with three homers. The second baseman from Knoxville finished 2-5 with three runs batted in and two runs scored. Skinner, who hit a grand slam on Tuesday, finished 3-5 with two runs scored and one RBI. Blake McDade also had an impressive day and reached base all six times he appeared at the plate, going 3-4 with two walks and reaching on an error. McDade also stole a base and scored three runs.

Pitcher Brandon Hall made his first career start for the Blue Raiders, but left the game too early to be credited for the win. Nick Montgomery entered the game in the third inning and pitched two and two thirds innings while giving up just two hits and a walk. Montgomery improved to 3-0 on the season, which leads all Middle Tennessee pitchers.

Southern Illinois got on the board in the bottom half of the first. Aaron Roberts reached on a bunt single to open the frame, and Blake Pinnon was hit by a pitch in the following at bat. A wild pitch moved the runners to second and third for Saluki power hitter Chris Serritella, who grounded out to score Roberts. Hall hit Michael Stalter with a pitch and Tyler Bullock earned a walk to load the bases. Another wild pitch scored Pinnon. Jordan Sivertsen loaded the bases again with another walk, but Nick Johnson grounded into a double play to end the threat.

The Blue Raiders took the lead with a six run second inning that featured 11 trips to the plate for Middle Tennessee. McDade opened up with a lead-off walk. After a strikeout by Miller, Skinner reached by getting hit by a pitch. A fielding error by Stalter allowed Meinhart to reach and load the bases. Back-to-back walks from Acker and Ford scored McDade and Skinner. A sacrifice fly by Burnett plated Meinhart to give the Blue Raiders their first lead. Hudson tripled down the right field line to clear the bases, and a Brentz single through the left side scored Hudson to put Middle Tennessee up 6-2.

Middle Tennessee tacked on another run in the third with a solo home run by Will Skinner to open the frame. The homer marked the second in as many games by the junior from Murfreesboro.

The Blue Raiders added three more runs in the fourth. Following consecutive outs by Burnett and Hudson, Brentz and McDade reached on back-to-back singles. Miller followed up his outstanding performance from Tuesday with a three run home run over the left field wall.

Middle Tennessee notched another three run frame in the sixth. McDade opened the inning with a single through the left side, and Miller drew a walk in the next at bat. Following a Skinner out, Justin Guidry entered the game as a pinch hitter and singled. Acker came to the plate, and both McDade and Miller would score on wild pitches before Acker singled to plate Guidry to put the Blue Raiders up 13-2.

SIU brought the deficit a bit closer in the bottom half of the seventh with three runs. Back-to-back singles by Wes Neece and Bullock and a Michael Ingram walk loaded the bases. Guidry took over relief duty on the mound for Marshall Mears, and consecutive walks scored both Neece and Bullock. A sacrifice fly by Brock Harding scored the final run of the frame for the Salukis.

Southern Illinois added one more run in the bottom of the ninth. Johnson reached on a single up the middle and an Austin Montgomery single moved Johnson into scoring position. A sacrifice fly by Harding plated the final run of the contest.

Middle Tennessee outhit the Salukis 17-10 on the day, and both teams combined to strand 27 runners. Southern Illinois committed all four errors in the game.

The Blue Raiders will continue their road trip with a three game series at Jacksonville State this weekend. Due to the Sun Belt Conference Basketball Championships, this weekend's games will not be broadcast on the Blue Raider Network. First pitch in game one is slated for 3 p.m.

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