Baseball completes Auburn Tournament sweep with win over College of Charleston

Curtis picks up first career victory

February 24, 2013 · @MTAthletics

Box Score (PDF)

AUBURN, Ala. - Middle Tennessee completed the weekend sweep at the Auburn Baseball Tournament with a 4-3 win over College of Charleston on Sunday.

Ryan Ford led the way with a 3-for-4 day, scoring once and driving in the game-winning run in the fifth as MT improved to 5-2 on the season.

Zac Curtis (1-1) earned his first win as a Blue Raider, taking a no-hitter into the fifth before surrendering three runs on three hits while striking out seven. Aaron Hyder, Joey McClung and Paul Mittura combined to shut out the Cougars (3-4) over the final four innings. Mittura tossed the final 1.2 innings without giving up a hit to pick up his third save of the year.

A double steal provided the first run for the Blue Raiders in the second. Jake Ellison took a one-out walk and moved to third on a well-executed two-out hit-and-run by Ryan Stephens. Stephens broke for second, sliding in safely as Ellison charged home from third and scored easily for the 1-0 lead.

MT made it a three-run cushion in the third when Johnny Thomas drove in a run for the third straight game and fifth time this season. After Ford singled up the middle, Thomas laced MT's first triple of the season and second of his career off the rightfield wall. He later scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-0.

Dain McNabb led off the fifth with a double to left and moved to third on a Trevor Haggard sac bunt. Ford delivered a base-knock to score McNabb for the 4-0 advantage.

The Cougars broke up Curtis' no-hit bid in the fifth, then chipped away at the lead in the sixth. A leadoff walk, four hits and error in the frame cut MT's lead to one. Curtis exited in favor of Aaron Hyder, but Hyder faced just three batters before giving way to McClung. McClung gave up a single and walk to load the bases, but struck out leadoff batter Gunnar Heidt to get out of the jam and preserve the 4-3 lead.

McClung made the seventh look easy, retiring the Cougars in order. Mittura entered the contest in the eighth after McClung issued a one-out walk and faced six batters in the contest.

MT will play a mid-week contest at Tennessee Tech on Tuesday. First pitch in Cookeville, Tenn., is slated for 3 p.m.

On the weekend sweep...
"To get three wins against this type of competition and in this setting, I don't think you could ask for anything more. We asked a lot - three games in a 24 hour period is what it really comes down to. They came out and we established the lead early. If we could have tacked on some runs it would have made it a whole lot easier. The bullpen wasn't great, but it was enough. It held, and then Paul came in and got the job done."

On Zac Curtis...
"It was a better start for him. Seven strikeouts in five innings, but it was just the leadoff walks that got him in those (last) two innings. We've got to get his pitch count built up so he can get deeper into a game. Happy nonetheless he got his first win."

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