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Skinner hits walk-off grand slam to knock off Western Kentucky

Adkins picks up complete game victory

May 20, 2011 · Athletic Communications
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - It took a while for the Blue Raider offense to get going on Friday night, but Will Skinner made it count with a ninth-inning walk-off grand slam to hand the Middle Tennessee baseball team a 5-1 win over rival Western Kentucky at Reese Smith Jr. Field.

"I knew it was gone as soon as I hit it," Skinner said. "Really, I came to the plate just trying to hit a fly ball to the outfield to bring in the run, which I would of been just as happy with. I knew he was going to try and throw another off-speed pitch, and I ended up getting a hold of it and hit it out."

A day after a standout pitching performance by Daniel Palo, fellow sophomore Hunter Adkins bettered it with a complete game four-hitter, the longest outing of his career. The Signal Mountain native allowed just one run while walking one and striking out three.

"It was just an outstanding pitching performance by Hunter," Peterson said. "I was very, very proud of him today. He had me worried there early, but he worked his way out of it. It was a great outing by him."

In addition to Skinner's grand slam, Matt Drake also finished the game with a home run. Sending a solo shot over the wall in left field to even the game in the eighth.

Western Kentucky (31-22, 16-13 SBC) led off the game with back-to-back doubles to grab an early 1-0 lead, but Adkins managed to limit the damage, ultimately recording 16 consecutive outs before giving up a single in the top of the sixth.

Drake's eighth-inning homer paved the way for a dramatic ninth. Johnny Thomas hit a one-out double off the wall in left center, and Hank LaRue and Justin Guidry reached base on a walk and hit by pitch, respectively, to load the bases for Skinner.

"It was a complete team effort in the ninth," Peterson said. "From Johnny getting on base with a double and LaRue getting a walk. Guidry working the count and getting hit by a pitch might have been the biggest play of the game because it let Skinner get to the plate."

Middle Tennessee (18-36, 9-20 SBC) and Western Kentucky will play a rubber game on Saturday evening as the Blue Raiders will celebrate Senior Day. Eric Gilley, one of nine seniors who will be honored prior to the game, is slated to start. First pitch is set for 1 p.m., with Senior Day festivities scheduled to begin at 12:20.

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