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Baseball heads to Belmont Tuesday, hosts No. 2 Vanderbilt Wednesday

Blue Raiders play at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Reese Smith Jr. Field

March 18, 2013 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee Baseball team has a pair of mid-week contests, beginning with a road game at Belmont on Tuesday at 4 p.m. followed by a home game against No. 2 Vanderbilt at Reese Smith Jr. Field Wednesday at 6 p.m.

The Blue Raiders endured a tough weekend on the road at WKU and will look to get back on track this week. Ryan Ford batted .400 (6-for-15) during the series and was the driving force for MT at the plate.

Middle Tennessee (11-9, 0-3 SBC) will take the short drive to Nashville Tuesday to square off with the Belmont Bruins.

The Blue Raiders currently lead the all-time series with the Bruins, 35-11. Last year in Nashville, Belmont defeated Middle Tennessee 20-5 in the only contest of the season between the two teams.

Centerfielder Ryan Stephens heads into the matchup batting a team high .357 (25-for-70) on the year while driving in 12 runs and crossing the plate nine times. Stephens also leads the team with a .471 slugging percentage and has a 15-game hitting streak going.

On the hill, it will be the freshman Heath Slatton (0-0) who will be making his first collegiate start. Slatton has made three appearances this season and has recorded two strikeouts in 3.1 innings pitched and allowed just three hits.

Belmont (13-6, 2-1 OVC) is coming off back-to-back losses over the weekend to Bradley and Northern Illinois. The Bruins are led by Jared Breen at the plate who is batting .377 (20-for-53) for the year and Josh Davis (1-1) on the mound with a team high 1.17 ERA.

Middle Tennessee will return home on Wednesday to host the Commodores.

The Commodores currently lead the all-time series 55-23. The Blue Raiders have lost the last seven in a row with, their last victory coming in 2009.
Jordan Cooper (1-1) heads to the mound for the Blue Raiders on Wednesday. Cooper is third on the team with 18 strikeouts in just 14.0 innings pitched and has one save.

Vanderbilt (19-2, 3-0 SEC) is coming off a series sweep of Auburn University over the weekend in their conference opener and is currently on a four-game winning streak.

The Commodores are led by second baseman Tony Kemp who is batting .442 (34-for-77) this year with 18 RBI and a .584 slugging percentage. Kemp also has a .960 fielding percentage and has turned five double plays.

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