This Week in Blue Raider Baseball

October 20, 2005 · MT Media Relations
BLUE TEAM TAKES SERIES WITH GAME THREE VICTORY: The Blue Team erased a six-run deficit, coming back to win the deciding game, 9-8, and defeat the Grey in the best-of-three World Series to end Middle Tennessee's fall workouts last week. The four-week session concluded Wednesday-Friday with the World Series at Reese Smith Field and showcased the Blue Raiders offensive abilities in all three contests.

In Game 1 on Wednesday, the Blue Team won 17-9 behind a 21-hit effort. Junior Wayne Kendrick was 4-for-6 with two runs scored for the winners, while freshmen Myles Ervin and Ben Darlington each collected three hits and drove in a combined five runs. Freshman Brett Smalley picked up the victory with four innings of work, while another freshman, Chad Edwards, suffered the loss after a rocky start where he allowed eight runs in the first inning. Sophomore Doug Birkofer was 3-for-5 for the Grey, while redshirt freshman Taylor Dennis and senior Marcus Taylor both had two hits and Taylor drove in a pair of runs.

The Grey Team rebounded with a 13-2 victory on Thursday behind the strong pitching effort from junior Matt Scott. The righthander from Smyrna, Tenn., who went 10-1 last season, allowed just two hits and two runs in five innings, striking out five. Junior Michael McKenry, in his first game back after arthroscopic knee surgery, went 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs as the designated hitter. Sophomore Nathan Hines added a pair of doubles among his three hits and added two RBIs. Freshman Jubal Duncan drove in one of the Blue Team's runs, while the other scored on an error. Sophomore Jimmy Kelly took the loss for the Blue Team.

In Game 3 on Friday, the Grey Team jumped out to an 8-2 lead, only to watch it evaporate in a six-run third inning by the Blue Team. Kendrick had three more hits and one RBI, while Ervin and senior Jeff Beachum each collected a pair of hits. Hines and junior Matt Campbell each had two hits for the Grey, and freshman Will Underland collected three hits, including a double, and drove in two runs. Junior Brett Reilley took the loss, while senior Jeff Kasser picked up the victory. Allan Woodward recorded the save with a perfect final inning.

"We have to replace guys like [Nate] Jaggers, [Josh] Archer and [Eric] McNamee, who were very vital parts to our championship clubs, but we saw some good signs in the fall," head coach Steve Peterson said. "Last year we had one of the best defensive clubs in our program's history, and I think we'll be strong again up the middle this year, which gives us the makings of another strong defensive team.

"Matt Scott pitched well this fall and we saw some guys who will help in the bullpen. All-in-all, it was a typical fall with some bright spots from the young guys."

The Blue Raiders will work with Strength & Conditioning Coach Matt Riley for the remainder of the semester as well as individual position work in groups of four each day. Spring practice will start in late January, with the tentative season-opener set for February 18 at Reese Smith Field.

FENCE WORK BEGINS: With the conclusion of fall practice last week, crews began work on a new outfield wall this week at Reese Smith Field, taking down the temporary fence and beginning to dig holes for the new structure. Work will continue over the next few weeks and should be completed by Thanksgiving. Photos of the work and the construction's progress may be found on the baseball page at GoBlueRaiders.com in the coming weeks.

ALUMNI GAME THIS WEEKEND, 1995 TEAM TO BE HONORED: The annual Alumni Game for the Middle Tennessee baseball program is set for this Friday at Reese Smith Field, with the contest starting between 2:30-3 p.m. Members of the 1995 OVC Championship team will be honored with a dinner on Friday night. For more information, contact head coach Steve Peterson at 615/898-2450 or 898-2984, to log on to the baseball page at GoBlueRaiders.com.

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