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Baseball returns to conference play with Troy

Middle Tennessee seeking third straight SBC series victory

April 12, 2012 · Athletic Communications
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - After falling earlier this week at Austin Peay, the Middle Tennessee baseball team will look to regroup when it returns to conference play with a trip to Troy on Friday.

MT will be seeking a third consecutive conference series win and attempting to cut into Florida Atlantic's lead atop the Sun Belt standings. The Blue Raiders are currently two games back of the Owls and in second place with an 8-4 record and a 20-13 mark overall.

After being tabbed as the Sun Belt co-favorite in February, Troy is 14-18 this season and tied for ninth in the league with a 3-9 record.

Led by the pitching trio of Hunter Adkins, Johnathan Frebis and Jonathan Sisco, MT will be aiming to repeat the heroics of last season's series with Troy in Murfreesboro. After the 18th-ranked Trojans coasted to an 11-1 victory in the series opener, Adkins and former Blue Raider Eric Gilley helped shutout Troy in the ensuing two games, securing the first MT win over a ranked opponent since knocking off No. 1 Vanderbilt in 2007.

Gilley tossed 7.1 innings of five-hit ball in the 4-0 victory, and Adkins was brilliant in the rubber game, striking out five and allowing three hits in eight innings of work to help MT to a 1-0 decision. Paul Mittura finished the job in both games to pick up a pair of saves.

This season, the weekend rotation has been exceptional, combining to pitch 145.1 innings with a 2.79 earned run average and a 12-6 record. As a team, MT holds a 3.82 ERA, ranking third in the conference. In league games only, the statistic improves to 3.26, good enough for second.

After a slow start to the year, the Blue Raiders have been swinging the bats since conference season started up. MT is hitting .277 this season, but hold a league-best .325 average in SBC play.

Trent Miller has been the catalyst for the Blue Raider offense, hitting a team-best .365 with 30 runs batted in, 23 scored and nine homers. Justin Guidry is second on the squad with a .349 average and a team-best 29 scores to go along with nine stolen bases. Ethan Williams and his .333 average and five homers made a return to the line-up last week.

The Blue and White have some ground to make up on the Trojans in the overall series. The Blue Raiders are 17-22 against Troy under the direction of head coach Steve Peterson, and just 9-12 on the road. However, MT has taken home each of the past two series, including taking two out of three in Troy in 2010.

First pitch on Friday at Riddle-Pace Field is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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