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Blue Raiders win 2-1 pitching duel against Ohio

Frebis strikes out seven over six innings

February 25, 2012 · Athletic Communications
Final Box Score (PDF)

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee baseball team once again turned to an outstanding pitching performance to secure a 2-1 win over visiting Ohio on Saturday afternoon at Reese Smith Jr. Field.

"It was a good win today," head coach Steve Peterson said. "Both sides pitched very well. We made some big plays, and Frebis did one heck of a job."

Johnathan Frebis, who tossed a scoreless five innings in his collegiate debut a week ago, repeated the feat on Saturday, pitching a shutout 5.2 frames before giving up a home run in the sixth. The freshman earned his first career victory and ended the day with six innings pitched, allowing one run on five hits with seven strikeouts, a season high for a Blue Raider pitcher.

"We've been working on limiting my walks," Frebis said. "Our goal is to go out there and improve every start and win as many games as possible. It was a good day. I was locating my fastball and got most of my off-speed stuff working too."

Paul Mittura and Joey McClung combined to hold the Bobcats to one hit over the final three frames, with McClung earning his first career save.

At the plate, Ryan Ford reached base in his first three plate appearances, finishing 2-for-3 with a run scored and a steal.

"I told Ryan that he's got to understand that batting average is not going to be what decides hitting leadoff," Peterson said. "It's about having good at-bats. He probably had a nine or 10 pitch at-bat the first time he was up there. He's really battling out there, and he's trying to see as many pitches as possible. He's doing well and playing good, solid defense too."

Dalton Henzman was the only other Blue Raider to record multiple hits, ending 2-for-3 as well, and as a team MT outhit Ohio 7-6.

For the fifth consecutive game, Middle Tennessee (3-3) grabbed the opening lead of the ball game, taking a 1-0 advantage in the third. Ford led off the frame with a single to center and stole second to move into scoring position. A single by Justin Guidry through the right side put the Blue Raiders on top.

Guidry finished 1-for-4 with a run batted in.

MT padded the lead an inning later due to a little bit of help from the Ohio defense. Johnny Thomas reached base on a fielding error by Ohio shortstop Ben Otto and advanced to second on a wild pitch. It looked like the Bobcats dodged the danger momentarily, but rightfielder Brice Nikithser dropped what would have been the third out of the frame, allowing Thomas to score.

Ohio (1-4) pulled within one with a two-out Tyler Wells solo home run to left in the sixth, but the Bobcats couldn't mount a serious challenge down the stretch, handing Middle Tennessee it's first series victory of the season.

The Blue Raiders will try for the sweep on Sunday. Jonathan Sisco will get the start for Middle Tennessee, and first pitch at Reese Smith Jr. Field is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.