Blue Raiders welcome in Owls this weekend

Saturday's game to be broadcast on CSS and ESPN3

March 22, 2012 · Athletic Communications
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee baseball team will look to keep a couple streaks going as they enter the second series of conference play this weekend with a three-game set vs. Florida Atlantic, beginning Friday evening at Reese Smith Jr. Field.

The Blue Raiders are coming into the weekend with a three-game win streak after knocking off rivals WKU and Tennessee Tech over the past week. MT will also be wrapping up the final of six consecutive home weekends to start the season, a scheduling feat that had not occurred in any of head coach Steve Peterson's previous 24 years at the helm of Blue Raider baseball.

The long stay at home has certainly treated the Blue and White well, as the team carries an 11-4 mark at Reese Smith Jr. Field, winning every weekend series.

The Blue Raiders will once again rely on what is statistically the Sun Belt's best pitching staff to keep things rolling. MT is entering the weekend with the league's best ERA (3.49) and best opponent batting average (.236). Saturday and Sunday starters Johnathan Frebis and Jonathan Sisco both rank among the league's best in both categories.

At the plate, Ethan Williams looks to lead the charge after a weekend to remember in the first conference series of the year. The junior homered in three consecutive at-bats to secure the first SBC series victory of the season for MT, ending the day with seven runs batted in, just one shy of a school record. The Erwin, Tenn., native is leading the team in batting average this season at .325 with 15 RBI and five home runs.

Justin Gudry and Trent Miller have also been forces to be reckoned with, hitting .325 and .316, respectively, and combining for 32 runs scored and 24 batted in.

MT holds an overall 10-10 record vs. FAU, including a 4-2 mark within the friendly confines of Reese Smith Jr. Field. This weekend marks the first trip to Murfreesboro to take on the Blue Raiders for the Owls since getting swept in three games in 2009. FAU has exacted revenge for that series by taking home four of the last six meetings, with MT last winning in 2010 with a 4-for-5 day by former Blue Raider Zach Hudson.

The Owls come into this series atop the Sun Belt leaderboard with a pristine 3-0 record after sweeping FIU last week. FAU is 14-8 this year, and ranks second in the SBC in nearly every offensive category including batting average (.297), slugging percentage (.436), on base percentage (.389) and runs scored (143). The pitching staff hasn't been as successful, but carries a 4.45 ERA with a .278 opponent batting average.

Saturday's match-up between Frebis and Kevin Alexander, who boasts of a 3-0 record with a 2.22 ERA, has been selected as the Sun Belt Network Game of the Week. The contest will be available via Comcast Sports South and online through ESPN3 to those watching out of region.

First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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