Blue Raiders fall twice at WKU
McNabb hits first career home runMarch 16, 2013 · @MTAthletics
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - Big innings proved to be problematic for the Middle Tennessee baseball team in a doubleheader at WKU on Saturday. The Hilltoppers captured a 12-2 win in game one before completing the series sweep with a 9-7 win in game two at Nick Denes Field.
Despite the losses, rightfielder Dalton Henzman enjoyed playing in his home state of Kentucky, homering twice on the day and driving in five runs. Henzman went 4-for-5 at the plate on the day, including a 3-for-4, three-RBI performance in game two.
Catcher Dain McNabb also had an impressive performance in game two, hitting his first career home run and driving in three runs in the contest.
Centerfielder Ryan Stephens extended his hitting streak to 15 games, going 1-for-4 in the first game and 2-for-3 in game two.
MT (11-9, 0-3 SBC) will play two during the midweek, traveling to Belmont Tuesday before returning home Wednesday to host No. 2 Vanderbilt on Wednesday. Tuesday's first pitch will be at 4 p.m. and Wednesday starts at 6 p.m.
WKU (10-9, 3-0 SBC) struck first in the second, capitalizing on a hit batsman to lead off the inning. A single and two walks forced in the game's first run.
The Hilltoppers busted the game open with a five-run fifth. WKU scored all five runs with two outs, as MT starter Johnathan Frebis (2-2) gave up three runs in the frame before exiting in favor of Aaron Hyder. Hyder hit the first batter, then gave up a two-RBI single and two-RBI double to make it a 6-0 contest.
A pair of doubles and home run from Devin Kelly put three more runs on the board for the Hilltoppers in the bottom of the sixth. WKU added three more in the eighth as well to make it 12-0.
The Blue Raiders had a chance to push a run across early, loading the bases with one out, but WKU starter Andrew Edwards (1-1) got out of the jam with a strikeout and flyout. MT stranded a runner at third in three innings, twice stifled by diving catches in the outfield to keep the Blue Raiders scoreless.
The only runs for MT came in the top of the ninth when leftfielder Jordan Rorex was hit by a pitch to start the inning and Henzman followed with a two-run shot to left field to account for the final score of 12-2.
Frebis went 4.2 innings and gave up four runs on four hits while walking five in the loss. Edwards picked up the win with five innings of four-hit ball, walking two and fanning six.
The Blue Raiders rebounded quickly in game two, scoring two runs in the second after opening the frame with three consecutive hits, including an RBI-double from Henzman. Catcher Dain McNabb made it 2-0 with a sacrifice fly.
WKU responded in the third with a pair of runs to pull within one. Second baseman Blake Crabtree singled to lead off the inning and centerfielder David Simmons doubled to put runners at second and third with no outs. The Hilltoppers used productive outs to pick up two runs, scoring on a sacrifice bunt and grounder to first.
A five-run fourth gave WKU the 7-3 lead. A home run from first baseman Ryan Huck knotted the game at three, and four more hits in the inning accounted for four runs.
Huck made it back-to-back at-bats with a long ball in the fifth, going yard again for the 8-3 lead.
A pair of home runs brought MT back quickly to within a run in the sixth. Henzman ripped his second homer of the day, a two-run shot, and two batters later, McNabb followed suit with a two-run blast to make it an 8-7 game.
The Hilltoppers added an insurance run in the eighth after Crabtree was hit to begin the inning and later scored on an RBI-single to seal the victory.
Zac Curtis (3-2) took the loss after giving up six runs on six hits through 3.1 innings, while Tim Bado (2-1) picked up the victory after allowing six runs on nine hits in 5.1 innings.
HEAD COACH JIM MCGUIRE
On the three losses this weekend...
"We're built on pitching and defense and trying to get timely hits, and this weekend we didn't get any of the three. I'm very disappointed with the way we played. Getting swept the first conference series is not the way you want to get started. We dug ourselves in a hole and have to find a way to dig ourselves out."
On pitching this weekend...
"We weren't able to manage the game and that's what we've been doing. Even when we've been in trouble, when we've gone to the bullpen we've kept it close. We weren't able to do that in the second game. If we could've managed (the fourth), I think we win the game."
Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.
More Baseball NewsApr 17, 2014: Blue Raiders fall to ECU in pitchers' duel
Apr 17, 2014: Raiders and ECU to play twin bill on Friday
Apr 16, 2014: Raiders and ECU meet for first time this weekend
Apr 15, 2014: Blue Raiders fall to No. 18 Vanderbilt
Apr 14, 2014: Raiders open five-game road swing at No. 18 Vandy
Apr 13, 2014: MT sweeps Delta Devils with 11-2 victory