Williams knocks out three homers in 9-1 win over WKU
Blue Raiders take series, 2-1March 18, 2012 · Athletic Communications
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - After a rain-delayed marathon of a game that lasted from Saturday evening into Sunday afternoon, Ethan Williams and Jonathan Sisco made short work of WKU in the rubber game of the series, leading the Middle Tennessee baseball team to a 9-1 victory and at Reese Smith Jr. Field.
The win gave the Blue Raiders the 2-1 series victory over the Hilltoppers, the first conference series of the season.
Williams knocked out a school record-tying three home runs in the game on the way to finishing 3-for-4 with seven runs batted in. Ryan Stephens was the only other Blue Raider to record multiple hits, ending 2-for-4 with a run scored, and MT out-hit WKU 9-6.
"I just tried to drive the ball as best as I could," Williams said. "Luckily, it was a good day to hit, and I just got some balls airborne. It still hasn't sunk in yet. I'm just enjoying the win with my teammates."
It was another outstanding outing on the mound for Sisco, who tossed seven strong innings of five-hit ball, allowing one run and striking out three to move to 4-0 on the season, his first in Murfreesboro.
"It's always nice to get some timely hitting, but pitching and defense is what won us the series," head coach Steve Peterson said. "We had outstanding pitching, and even though I don't think Sisco was as sharp as he has been, he threw really well. He's showing me that you have to beat him because he's not going to beat himself."
"It's great to be 4-0, but I really can't do it without the team," Sisco said. "The offense has picked me up the past two outings, and the defense has been great. It's more a reflection of the team around me. I definitely have some things to work on, but overall, I'm extremely pleased."
WKU (8-11) drew first blood in the third. Blake Crabtree earned a one-out walk, and moved to third on a Jared Andreoli double. A Scott Wilcox groundout scored the run, and proved to be the only time that WKU could capitalize on a scoring opportunity as the Hilltoppers stranded 11 baserunners in the game.
Williams handed MT (12-8) the lead an inning later in the fourth. Justin Guidry led off the frame with a walk, and Williams wasted no time, sending a 1-1 pitch over the wall in left to give the Blue Raiders the slim 2-1 advantage.
The fifth proved to be the clincher for MT as a trio of WKU errors led to a big inning that saw eight Blue Raiders get sent to the plate with five scoring. Ryan Stephens led off with a double down the right field line, and a McNabb bunt single plus a Casey Dykes throwing error scored the first run.
WKU pitcher Tim Bado also mishandled the next two bunts, as both Ryan Ford and Guidry reached base on throwing errors while attempting to sacrifice bunt, allowing McNabb to score. Williams cleared the bases with another shot over the wall in right.
Guidry scored three times on the day, finishing 1-for-1 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch.
The Blue Raiders added two more insurance runs in the seventh. Guidry laced a one-out single to center and Williams hit his third consecutive homer in the next at-bat.
Williams became the first Blue Raider to have a three-homer game since NCAA schools made the switch from the old metal bats, tying the school record. Justin Miller was the last Blue Raider to send three out of the park, doing so at Southern Illinois in the 2010 season.
The junior was the first to homer in consecutive at bats since Guidry accomplished the feat against Tennessee in 2010.
Williams also became the first player to knock in seven runs since Blake McDade did it against UALR in 2010. The number is just one shy of the school record of eight, last accomplished by Miller in 2009 against South Alabama.
Earlier in the day, the Blue Raiders secured a 7-2 victory against WKU thanks to a 4-for-4, five RBI outing by Trent Miller. The game was halted in the bottom of the eighth inning on Saturday evening due to inclement weather.
The Blue Raiders will return to action at Reese Smith Jr. Field on Tuesday with a non-conference meeting against in-state foe Tennessee Tech. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.