Blue Raiders preparing to close out season

Middle Tennessee to honor military on Thursday evening

May 18, 2011 · Athletic Communications
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - With the season winding down, the Middle Tennessee baseball team will look to close out the 2011 regular season on a high note with a home series against rival Western Kentucky, beginning on Thursday at Reese Smith Jr. Field.

This marks the final home weekend of the season for Middle Tennessee, and the final home games of seniors Tyler Acker, Hunter Dawson, Eric Gilley, Jay Morris, Davis Pearce, Will Skinner, Judd Stoltz, Matt Yurus and team manager Adam Lairamore. All nine will be honored in a ceremony prior to Saturday's game.

The Blue Raiders are fighting for a spot in the 2011 Sun Belt Championship tournament field, which will take place next weekend in Monroe, La. Middle Tennessee currently sits in ninth, and the top eight teams in the league each a spot. In order to make it, the Blue Raiders will need to sweep the Hilltoppers and get some help from either UALR or Arkansas State.

Middle Tennessee will likely turn to the talents of Justin Guidry and Will Skinner at the plate to help reach the tournament. Skinner currently leads the Sun Belt in both home runs (15), total bases (137) and slugging percentage (.659), and Guidry is tied for the league lead in hits with 78, boasting of an impressive .353 average.

On the mound, Middle Tennessee is slated to toss Daniel Palo, Hunter Adkins and Gilley. Palo picked up a win last Wednesday against Tennessee, and Gilley has been the Blue Raiders' most consistent starter this season.

On Thursday, Middle Tennessee will also use the occasion to honor U.S Armed Forces personnel and veterans with Military Appreciation Night. Active personnel and veterans will be admitted into the game for free, and friends and family members will be able to purchase a ticket for a discounted rate of $4 apiece.

Staff Sergeant Mike Avant, currently stationed at Fort Campbell, will be on hand to sing both the National Anthem prior to the game and God Bless America during the seventh inning.

Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky will begin their three game series on Thursday at Reese Smith Jr. Field. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m.

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