Adkins tosses gem to push MT winning streak to four

Blue Raiders and Owls set to square off again on Saturday on CSS

March 23, 2012 · Athletic Communications
Final Box Score (PDF)

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Faced with one of the strongest line-ups in the Sun Belt Conference, pitcher Hunter Adkins put together a sublime performance on the mound on Friday evening, leading the Middle Tennessee baseball team to a 5-1 victory over Florida Atlantic at Reese Smith Jr. Field.

"Hunter has had outstanding stuff pretty much every time he's been out there this year," head coach Steve Peterson said. "What he showed tonight was some toughness. With his talent, he can become a pretty high draft choice, but he's got to show himself, his teammates, scouts and everyone in the stands that he wants the ball when it gets tough. He gave us seven outstanding innings against a team that has been swinging the bat well lately. He should be very proud of what he accomplished tonight and grow from it."

FAU (14-8, 3-1 Sun Belt) entered the game with the SBC's best record and ranked at or near the top of almost every offensive statistic, but it didn't matter for Adkins as the junior right-hander tossed seven frames and allowing just one run on three hits with three strikeouts.

"Coach Pete told me to be tough and that's what I was trying to do," Adkins said. "I made a couple of mistakes, but I was just trying to stay strong. My defense made every play I needed them to make."

Johnny Thomas and Trent Miller combined to lead the way at the plate, going 4-for-7 with three runs scored and four runs batted in. Justin Guidry was the only other Blue Raider to collect multiple hits, ending 2-for-4 with a pair of runs, and as a team MT out-hit the Owls 8-3.

FAU opened up the scoring in the second inning after Kyle Newton earned a lead-off walk. A Mike Spano groundout advanced him to second, and Corey Keller singled to right to push the run across.

The Blue Raiders (14-8, 3-1 SBC) grabbed the lead an inning later in the bottom of the third. Guidry reached on a two-out single, and Thomas followed up with his fifth home run of the season, sending a 2-2 pitch over the wall in right center.

"We had a great workout program over the summer and fall, and that was a big part of our team getting better," Thomas said. "We had to get a lot stronger. I knew he was going to come after me and throw strikes, so I just kept an aggressive approach."

The pair of runs was all MT needed on the day as Adkins faced the minimum in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings before handing his duties over to senior reliever Nick Montgomery.

Miller and Hank LaRue combined for an insurance run with back-to-back singles and a Gregg Bennis fielding error in left.

MT put the game out of reach for good in the eighth. Guidry and Thomas reached on a fielder's choice and single, respectively, and Miller followed up with a double down the right field line to push the runs across and hand MT the final 5-1 advantage.

Montgomery faced seven batters over the final six FAU outs, earning his first save since the 2009 season.

The Blue Raiders and Owls will face off again on Saturday at Reese Smith Jr. Field. Johnathan Frebis and his 2.05 ERA is slated to get the start, and the game will be televised regionally on CSS and nationally via ESPN3.com. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.

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