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Late inning rally costs Middle Tennessee

Arkansas State scores five in ninth

April 28, 2012 · Athletic Communications
Final Box Score (PDF)

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Johnathan Frebis held the Arkansas State offense at bay over the first six innings on Saturday afternoon, but the Red Wolves came alive late, scoring seven times over the final two innings as the Middle Tennessee baseball team fell 8-5 at Reese Smith Jr. Field.

After giving up a run in the first, the freshman settled over the ensuing five frames, ending with five hits allowed and five strikeouts.

A day after the MT bullpen held the Red Wolves (23-18, 12-6 SBC) to one hit over six innings of work, the trio of Daniel Palo, Joey McClung and Paul Mittura gave up seven runs on seven hits, with McClung picking up his first loss of the season to fall to 3-1.

Justin Guidry continued his hot streak for the weekend, going 3-for-5 with a pair of runs batted in. The senior from Mt. Juliet is now hitting .500 for the weekend with four RBI and two homers.

Trent Miller and Hank LaRue each had two-hit days, but the Blue Raiders (24-21, 10-10 SBC) were out-hit by the Red Wolves 13-11.

ASU's Zach George earned a two-out walk in the first to get the Red Wolves started. Claude Johnson followed up with a walk of his own to move the runner into scoring position, and Logan Uxa singled to center to give the visitors an early lead for the second day in a row.

It appeared as though Frebis would be on the hook for a hard-luck loss before the Blue Raiders opened up for four runs in the bottom of the sixth. Miller led off with a single up the middle, and LaRue belted a one-out double to put the go ahead run on second. Daniel Wright, who had been stellar up to that point, tossed a wild pitch that allowed the equalizer to cross home. Following a Ryan Stephens out and a Ryan Ford intentional walk, Matthew Drake laced a single to left to record his first RBI since March 24 and put MT on top 2-1.

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Robert Lawrence kept the rally going with a walk to load the bases and chase Wright from the mound. Guidry singled to right to plate both Ford and Cody Tollison, who came on to pinch run for Drake, and give the Blue Raiders a 4-1 lead. The run by Tollison, exclusively a pitcher since donning the blue and white jersey a season ago, was the first of his career.

ASU's offense picked up in the eighth. Uxa singled to right with one out, and then three consecutive pinch-hitters singled, helping the Red Wolves pull within one with an inning remaining.

It was more of the same in the ninth as Michael Faulkner led off with a single before moving into scoring position on a George walk. Johnson singled up the middle to pull ASU even, but the Red Wolves kept it going with a pair of sacrifice flies and a Ryan Roberts two-run double.

After a pair of quick outs, MT reclaimed a run in the bottom of the ninth and brought the potential tying run to the plate, but the rally would fall short.

The Blue Raiders will aim to get back on track with starting pitcher Jonathan Sisco on Sunday. The game marks the annual L.D. Agee Optimist Little League Day at Reese Smith Jr. Field, and first pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.

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