This Week in Blue Raider BaseballApril 7, 2006 · MT Media Relations
BRAZELTON SET FOR PADRES DEBUT SATURDAY: Former Middle Tennessee All-American Dewon Brazelton will make his San Diego Padres regular season debut on the mound Saturday against the Colorado Rockies at home at PETCO Park. Because of a rainout, Brazelton's start was pushed back a day. This spring the Tullahoma, Tenn., native was 1-0 with a 1.77 ERA in six appearances, five starts, striking out 17 in 20.1 innings and allowing just six walks. Brazelton is the No. 4 starter in the rotation for the Padres. He spent his first four major league seasons with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who selected the righthander with the No. 3 overall selection in the 2001 First-Year Player Amateur Draft.
OTHERS FIND OUT MINOR LEAGUE HOMES FOR THE SEASON: Three other former Blue Raiders begin their minor league season in the coming days, including Jeremy Owens (Tampa Bay Devil Rays), Chris Mobley (Florida Marlins) and Brett Carroll (Florida Marlins). Owens will start the year in AA for the Montgomery (AL) Biscuits in the Southern League, while Mobley will also be in the Southern League with the AA Carolina (NC) Mudcats. Carroll will begin the 2006 season with the Jupiter (FL) Marlins in the Florida State League. Chad Cooper, another former Blue Raider, went to spring training with the Colorado Rockies but was cut last week. Three other former Middle Tennessee players will participate in independent leagues. Adam Larson signed with the Somerset (NJ) Patriots for the second season in the Atlantic League, Josh Renick will play again for the St. Paul (MN) Saints in the American Association, and Eric McNamee will be with the Gary (IN) Southshore Railcats in the Northern League.
MIDDLE TENNESSEE VS. NEW ORLEANS: The Blue Raiders trail the all-time series, 12-11, but are 9-7 against New Orleans since joining the Sun Belt in 2001. The Privateers have won three of the five series between the two teams in SBC action, including last year's three-game set in Murfreesboro. Middle Tennessee won the last series in New Orleans, shutting out the Privateers in three straight games and winning 2-0, 2-0 and 18-0. The Blue Raiders are 1-1 against UNO in Sun Belt Tournament play, winning 4-2 in 2001 and dropping a 7-6 decision in 2002.
BEACHUM SETTING THE PACE: Senior Jeff Beachum has been a consistent hitter for his entire career at Middle Tennessee, but the Cordova, Tenn., native has raised his play to another level in 2006. Beachum has batted in the leadoff spot for 17 of the team's 23 games and has a .438 on-base percentage, third best on the club, while batting .559 (19-for-34) when leading off an inning this season. Beachum leads the Blue Raiders with a .386 batting average heading into the weekend series at New Orleans. The Cordova HS product also leads the club with 39 hits, 22 runs scored and eight doubles. Beachum has drawn nine walks so far this season, a big improvement for a player who had just 36 career walks coming into the season. He also has struck out only six times in 101 at-bats.
HEATH GETS OFF TO FAST START: Freshman Dillon Heath was scheduled to redshirt this season, but the Blue Raiders were getting very little from the designated hitter spot and head coach Steve Peterson decided the give Heath a shot last week against Samford. The Nashville, Tenn., native responded with a 5-for-9 effort (.556) in the two contests with three runs scored. Heath was 3-for-5 in Tuesday's game with two runs scored. He followed that up with a 2-for-4 outing on Wednesday with a run scored, a triple and one RBI. The Davidson Academy product came back Tuesday against Lipscomb, doubling and driving in a run in his first at-bat. Heath is batting .500 (6-12) in the three games with five runs scored and two RBIs.
SCOTT ADDS NAME TO CAREER RECORDS: Junior Matt Scott continues to post wins in almost every start and entered the program's Top 10 list in three career categories. Scott is tied for 10th with Jason Stanton after posting his 17th career victory against Arkansas-Little Rock on March 24. His career mark of 17-3 is tops on the list in winning percentage (.850) and the Smyrna, Tenn., native is eighth on the career earned runs list with a .287 ERA entering weekend play at New Orleans.
BEACHUM LEADS THE CURRENT HOT STREAK: Senior Jeff Beachum has been at the forefront in Middle Tennessee's resurgence in the win column, with the Blue Raiders taking six of their last seven outings to climb above the .500 mark. During the seven games Beachum is batting a team-leading .500 (15-for-30) with four doubles, a triple, nine RBIs and seven runs scored. Junior Michael McKenry has scored nine runs and driven in seven more during the seven-game stretch, while junior Adam Warren has scored nine times as well and is batting .400 (10-for-25). Warren tied his career-high with three hits and drove in a career-best five runs on Tuesday against Lipscomb. The pitching staff has also been a major part of the upward swing, going 6-1 with a 3.86 ERA in 63.0 innings of work, walking 21 and striking out 56 with opponents batting only .260.
MCKENRY HITTING EXTRA BASES: Junior Michael McKenry displayed tremendous power last season, belting 13 home runs, including one over the upper deck and into the football stadium at home. This season the Knoxville, Tenn., native has continued his power stroke but also added a plethora of extra-base hits to his repertoire. McKenry has 31 hits for the season while batting .373 overall in 23 contests. Thirteen of the 31 hits have gone for extra bases, including six doubles, three triples and four home runs. The Farragut HS product has scored 16 runs and leads the Blue Raiders with 24 RBIs, a slugging percentage of .663, 18 walks and an on-base percentage of .495. McKenry has also caught 20 of the team's 23 contests, adding to the responsibility as the team's cleanup hitter.
KENDRICK CONSISTENT AT THE TOP: Junior Wayne Kendrick has taken full advantage of his opportunities this season, starting for the first time in his career. Kendrick ranks third on the club with a .353 batting average, scoring 20 runs, second-best on the squad. Kendrick has two doubles, two triples and the first two home runs of his career as well as 16 RBIs, tied for third-best for the Blue Raiders. He began the season 5-for-10 with five runs scored and three RBIs in the opening three-game sweep at Jacksonville State, but then hit a skid where he went 1-for-18 in five games. Since then the Murfreesboro, Tenn., native leads the Blue Raiders with a .421 batting average (24-for-57) in 14 contests, scoring 14 runs with five extra-base hits and 12 RBIs. He had six straight games with multiple hits (March 10-17) and has hit safely in 12 of the 14 outings.
MARTIN FINDS POWER STROKE, RETURNS TO OUTFIELD: Senior Todd Martin was limited last season because of elbow and knee injuries, keeping the Cookeville, Tenn., native from displaying the expected power numbers when he transferred from the University of Tennessee. During the offseason Martin had surgery for both ailments and has come into form during 2006. The Cookeville HS product leads the Blue Raiders and is tied for third in the Sun Belt with six home runs. He has 11 extra-base hits this season (four doubles, one triple), ranks second on the club with 21 RBIs and has scored 19 runs. Martin also made a return to the outfield last week against Samford, playing one inning on Tuesday in centerfield and then starting at the same spot in Wednesday's contest. It was the first time he had played in the outfield since March 8, 2005, at Memphis, a span of 67 games.
BEACHUM CLIMBING CAREER LISTS: Senior Jeff Beachum has enjoyed a very successful career at Middle Tennessee, starting all but seven possible games in his four-year tenure. Beachum moved past former teammate Nate Jaggers (2002-05) into second place on the career hits list against Arkansas-Little Rock on March 24-26. The Cordova, Tenn., native now has 264 career hits heading into the weekend at New Orleans. Beachum is only five hits from tying career leader Clay Snellgrove (1994-97) at the top of the all-time list. The Cordova HS product also moved past Jayhawk Owens (43, 1988-90), Jaggers (44, 2002-05) and Doug Barner (45, 1993-96) into sixth on the career doubles list with 47. He is only four away from second place in that category as well and would pass Bryan Peck (48, 1999-00), Brett Carroll (50, 2002-04), George Zimmerman (51, 1986-89) and Mudcat Brewer (51, 1991-94). Beachum also ranks third in career at-bats (788) and moved into first against UT Martin on March 16 on the career singles list (207). A full listing appears on page nine of these notes.
STREAKS: Junior Wayne Kendrick has hit safely in five straight games, the longest current hitting streak for the Blue Raiders. Kendrick is 8-for-20 (.400) with four runs scored and four RBIs. Juniors Michael McKenry and Adam Warren both have four-game hitting streaks heading into the weekend at New Orleans. McKenry is 5-for-10 (.500) with seven walks and five runs scored during the stretch, while Warren is batting .412 (7-for-17) with seven RBIs and five runs scored in the four games.
NOTES FROM LIPSCOMB: Michael McKenry hit third in the order for the first time this season and the first time in his career ... Adam Warren extended his hitting streak to four games with a single in the first ... Wayne Kendrick extended his hitting streak to five games with a single in the fifth ... Warren tied his career-high three hits and drove in a career-high five runs in the contest. He also had his second career triple, both this season ... Rawley Bishop tied his career-high with two RBIs ... Dillon Heath scored twice in the game, his second two-run game in three outings. Heath also added his first double of the year ... Josh Horn had his eighth two-hit game of the season and belted his third home run of the year ... Langdon Stanley picked up the win with 1.2 scoreless innings, his second victory of the year.
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