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Baseball faces season's first Sun Belt road test at South Alabama

Blue Raiders square off against Jaguars Friday at 6:30 p.m.

March 29, 2012 · Athletic Communications
Friday, 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, 1 p.m.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee baseball team travels to South Alabama this weekend for its first Sun Belt road test of the 2012 campaign. The Blue Raiders take the league’s best pitching staff to Stanky Field, looking to claim the series over the Jaguars for the fourth time in the last five meetings in Mobile, Ala.

The Blue Raiders earned a midweek split against Memphis, capturing a thrilling 8-7 victory over Memphis on Tuesday thanks to Justin Guidry’s walk-off double. MT fell to the Tigers, 13-5 on Wednesday. In their last conference outing, the Blue Raiders took the Friday contest from Florida Atlantic, but then suffered back-to-back losses for their first series loss of the season.

MT’s weekend hurlers continue to show consistency, leading the Blue Raiders (15-11, 3-3 SBC) to a league-best 3.67 ERA. Friday starter Hunter Adkins is 3-2 on the season with a complete-game shutout of Ohio already under his belt. Freshman lefty Johnathan Frebis will take the mound again on Saturday, coming off last weekend where he threw seven perfect innings against Florida Atlantic before giving up a home run in the eighth. Jonathan Sisco closes out the rotation on Sunday, sporting a league-best ERA of 1.36. In addition to ERA, Sisco tops the conference in opponent batting average (.184), runs allowed (8), earned runs allowed (6) and hits allowed (22).

Offensively, Trent Miller has become a force for the Blue Raiders. Miller is hitting .340 while leading the team and ranking second in the Sun Belt with seven home runs and 62 total bases. He has also driven in a team-best 22 runs. Guidry is also a threat at the plate, particularly against the Jaguars. Guidry is hitting .306 this season and, in the six games he has faced South Alabama during his career, he has amassed a .520 average, including 10 runs, 9 RBI and a pair of home runs.

MT is 17-29 against the Jaguars (10-15, 5-1 SBC) under head coach Steve Peterson, including a 7-17 road record. Since joining the Sun Belt, the Blue Raiders are 16-22 and 6-10 in Mobile. MT has claimed three of the last four series in Mobile, including a sweep of the Jaguars in 2006.

South Alabama is coming off a midweek split at Wichita State, earning a 7-3 win on Tuesday before suffering a 9-4 setback on Wednesday. The Jaguars’ only loss in league action was a 10-6 defeat to Troy on March 17, as South Alabama remains tied atop the league standings after sweeping ULM last weekend.

Phillip Byrd will get the Friday start for South Alabama, while Anthony Izzio and Jarron Cito round out the rotation. Izzio maintains a 4-0 record and team-best 2.45 ERA, while Byrd is also undefeated at 2-0 with a 3.16 ERA. Cito is 2-2 with a 4.45 ERA. Nick Zaharion leads the Jaguars at the plate with a .385 average and 28 RBI.

First pitch on Friday is slated for 6:30 p.m. CT.

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