Adkins earns SBC Pitcher of the Week

Blue Raiders will take on Tennessee on Tuesday

February 27, 2012 · Athletic Communications
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - For the second time in his career and the first time this season, Hunter Adkins earned Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week as announced by the league office on Monday afternoon.

Adkins tossed a complete game shutout against Ohio on Friday night, out-dueling highly-touted draft prospect Seth Streich on the way to a 4-0 victory at Reese Smith Jr. Field. The junior righthander became the first Blue Raider to throw a nine inning complete game shutout since Chad Edwards accomplished the feat at the end of the 2010 season.

Adkins was the only Blue Raider to earn a Pitcher of the Week honor last season, picking it up for his efforts in a shutout victory over Troy last April.

In addition to Adkins, Middle Tennessee has been the recipient of strong pitching for much of this season so far, holding an impressive 2.29 team ERA and holding the opponent under three runs in each of the previous six games. The Blue Raiders will look to keep it going on Tuesday when they travel to Knoxville to take on Tennessee.

Jordan Cooper, a former standout for Knoxville's Farragut High School, will get the start for the Blue Raiders, and will look to build on the promise shown in his first two appearances this season. In his collegiate debut vs. Kansas, Cooper pitched 2.2 hitless innings and later earned his first career start at Lipscomb last week. The junior pitched 4.1 innings, allowing three hits and two runs while striking out four.

Offensively, the Blue Raiders have held a lead in every game this season, due in no small part to the play of another newcomer in Ethan Williams. The junior first baseman leads the team with a .346 batting average and has reached base successfully in each game. Williams had a career day against Ohio on Sunday, going 3-for-4 at the plate with a pair of doubles.

If Middle Tennessee is to repeat the successes of a 12-3 win in Murfreesboro the last time the two schools met, a lot of responsibility will likely fall on two of the heroes from previous UT meetings in Justin Guidry and Ryan Stephens. Guidry holds a career .467 average against the Volunteers with seven runs batted in and a pair of homers. Stephens came up just a single short of the cycle in last year's win, driving in a pair of runs and scoring four times.

The Blue Raiders split the series last season, falling 5-4 in Knoxville before posting the impressive win a day later at Reese Smith Jr. Field. Middle Tennessee will be hunting it's second SEC road victory in as many years after knocking off Kentucky in Lexington last year.

Murfreesboro native Carter Watson is slated to start for the 7-0 Volunteers and first pitch at Lindsey Nelson Stadium is scheduled for 3 p.m.

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