Blue Raiders defeat Ball State on Opening Day
Hunter Adkins strikes out seven in 1-0 victoryFebruary 15, 2013 ·
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Hunter Adkins retired the first seven batters he faced on the mound, and gave the Blue Raiders eight-plus strong innings on the way to an opening day, 1-0, victory over Ball State at Reese Smith Jr. Field on Friday afternoon.
Middle Tennessee (1-0) recorded its first opening game shutout since 1978 in Jim McGuire's debut as head coach. Adkins earned the win as he struck out seven and allowed just four hits and two walks.
Ball State (0-1) used four pitchers on the afternoon. Starting pitcher Chris Marangon threw six and one-third innings for the Cardinals giving up four hits, three walks and one strikeout. Tyler Jordan took the loss after giving up the game's lone run.
Paul Mittura notched a save after coming into the game in the top of the ninth with a runner on first base and no outs. Mittura faced just two batters, with one strikeout, after BSU's Wes Winkle was caught stealing second for the first out of the inning.
On the offensive side, five MT players recorded hits, including Miller, who was 1-for-3, with a double for the Blue Raiders' first hit of the season.
MT scored its only run in the bottom of the eighth inning when Johnny Thomas singled and drove in Trent Miller from second base. Miller was intentionally walked with two outs in the eighth, and then stole second. Thomas' hit was just deep enough to allow Miller to score.
The Blue Raiders loaded the bases in the fifth inning with two outs, but Rorex grounded to second to end the threat.
Game 2 of the series is slated for 2 p.m. on Saturday. MT will look to sophomore Johnathan Frebis to give the Blue Raiders their first series win tomorrow when he takes the mound. Frebis, a Preseason All Conference selection, will look to pick up where he left off a year ago when he was named Sun Belt Freshman of the Year. Frebis started all 15 of his appearances and earned a 6-3 record, the most of any pitcher on the team.
HEAD COACH JIM MCGUIRE
On getting first win as Blue Raider Head Coach...
"I could say that I coached a great game today, but those guys have to come out and execute. Coach Hall and Coach Meade helped a lot too with making decisions to put us in situations to help us get the win."
On Ball State forcing Johnny Thomas (switch-hitter) to change sides during at-bat...
"I've never seen anyone turn a guy around on a 1-2 count. I've seen it happen earlier in the count or on a stolen base, but never in that situation with a switch hitter. That's tough for him to come in left-handed and switch around. But he did a great job with that pitch."
On starting pitcher Hunter Adkins...
Hunter is definitely better than last year, and we've seen that all fall. It was pretty close as to whether we'd go with him or Frebis, but he showed today why we decided to go with him on Fridays. I thought his tempo was good. We're calling pitching this year as a coaching staff and trying to speed the game up, but he handled that well. And then fielding that bunt to start the double play late, he's our best fielding pitcher and he proved it right there.
Hunter Adkins on opening day win...
"Everything was working right today. Coach Meade was calling the pitches and he knew what to call and I trusted him on every call. I didn't try to too much and I did what I needed to do and hopefully we come out tomorrow and do the same thing."
Adkins on pitching coach Skylar Meade calling pitches...
"It's a little different because I've called my own game since high school. But like I said, I trust Coach Meade. He knows the hitters; he studies them."
Johnny Thomas on game-winning single...
"It was a changeup, he left it up middle in and I got a good piece of it. I was actually pretty happy because they switched pitchers on me in the middle of the at-bat, and I hadn't been doing too much from the left side all day. I was happy they started me off with a fastball so I was able to switch my lead eye and get comfortable. But he left that pitch up and I took advantage of it."
Thomas on preparing for tomorrow's game...
"We're all just going to try to get in the grove. The goal is to try to stay in the grove all year long. We made some mistakes today but we'll come out and fix them tomorrow. We've got to be better on the bases and we have to hit the ball better too. But we'll get it done for tomorrow."
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