Blue Raiders return to non-conference action with Tennessee Tech

First pitch on Tuesday scheduled for 6 p.m.

March 19, 2012 · Athletic Communications
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - After playing in the first night games of the season over the weekend, the Middle Tennessee baseball team will return to playing under the lights on Tuesday as they welcome in-state foe Tennessee Tech for a non-conference scrap at Reese Smith Jr. Field.

The Blue Raiders (12-8) will aim to continue their recent dominance of the former conference rival Golden Eagles, having won 11 of the past 12 home meetings since departing the Ohio Valley Conference for the Sun Belt. MT took home both meetings last season due to some outstanding offensive numbers from former Blue Raider and current Atlanta Braves farmhand Will Skinner, who went 6-for-9 with four runs scored and seven batted in over the two games.

Overall, MT is 41-20-1 against TTU under the direction of head coach Steve Peterson, including 16-4-1 since leaving the OVC. In all, Peterson is 327-108-1 vs. OVC opponents.

If MT is going to keep those numbers up, they'll likely rely on the trio of Justin Guidry, Ethan Williams and Trent Miller. Guidry carries a .316 average with five runs, four RBI and two steals against the Golden Eagles, and he enters Tuesday hitting at a .329 clip with a team-best 16 runs scored and six stolen bases.

Williams is coming off one of the great offensive displays in the history of Blue Raider baseball after homering in three consecutive at-bats for seven RBI in Sunday's 9-1 win over WKU. The junior is leading the team with a .342 average, and his numbers are even better in Murfreesbuoro, inflating to a .455 clip with an impressive .818 slugging percentage.

Trent Miller has also emerged as a primary power threat in the middle of the Blue Raider line-up. After a promising freshman campaign in 2011, the rightfielder leads the team with six home runs, and he's tied with Johnny Thomas and Williams for the lead in RBI with 15. His .316 average ranks third.

On the mound, Daniel Palo is slated to make his first start of the season after serving as a weekend starter a year ago. The junior has made four appearances this season, pitching 4.2 innings and allowing three runs, but picking up two saves. He'll look to start as strong as he ended last season, when he posted 14.1 innings of work over his final two appearances of 2011, allowing eight hits and five runs.

Tennessee Tech comes into Tuesday with an 8-11 mark, including a 1-3 mark on the road. Garrett Baugh will make his second start of the year on the mound. The right-hander carries a 1-1 record with a 5.73 ERA, and Zach Stephens anchors the Golden Eagle line-up with a .472 average with six doubles, nine homers and 23 RBI.

First pitch on Tuesday is slated for 6 p.m.

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