Blue Raiders score 10 unanswered runs in comeback win over Louisiana
MT battles back from three-run deficitMarch 22, 2013 · @MTAthletics
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Led by shortstop Ryan Ford's four-RBI day, the Blue Raider baseball team overcame a three-run deficit with 10 unanswered runs to capture a 12-5 win over Louisiana on Friday night at Reese Smith Jr. Field. It marked the first Sun Belt victory of the season for Middle Tennessee (13-10, 1-3 SBC).
Six Blue Raiders recorded a multi-hit game. Ford was 2-for-4 with a pair of runs, including his first home run of the season. He was one of three Blue Raiders to go deep, along with Johnny Thomas and Dain McNabb, each with their second long ball of the year. Thomas finished the day 2-for-3 with an RBI and three runs, while McNabb was 1-for-1 with three runs and a pair of walks.
Hunter Adkins (4-2) recorded a career-high nine strikeouts in the win. Adkins allowed five runs, four earned, on seven hits, but settled down in the fifth. He retired nine of the final 10 batters he faced, fanning five of six in the sixth and seventh innings, striking out the side in the latter frame.
UL (17-4, 3-1 SBC) quickly put two runs across in the first as the first two batters reached. Leftfielder Caleb Adams drove in the first run with a double and later charged home on an attempted squeeze play, scoring despite the swing and miss because of a ball in the dirt.
Thomas cut the deficit in half with a home run to left in the bottom of the first, his second long ball of the season, but UL catcher Michael Strentz went deep in the next half inning for the 3-1 lead.
The two teams traded runs again in the third. The Ragin' Cajuns scored on a double play after a leadoff walk, and McNabb slugged the second homer of his career to lead off the bottom of the inning and make it a 4-2 game.
Another leadoff walk would lead to another run for UL in the top of the fifth, but that's when MT's offense came to life. The Blue Raiders pushed three runs across in the bottom half of the inning to knot things at five.
McNabb got things rolling with a one-out walk, moving to second on a wild pitch. Ford drove him in with a base-knock to left and later scored on a passed ball to pull within a run. It was centerfielder Ryan Stephens who scored the tying run after a base-hit, error, passed ball and balk.
MT blew the game open in the sixth, taking the lead when Robert Lawrence stole third and then charged home as the throw down to third sailed into left field. McNabb followed with his second walk of the day, this time scoring as Ford ripped a 1-1 pitch over the left-centerfield wall for the three-run cushion.
The three runs handed the loss to UL reliever Cord Cockrell (3-1). He pitched just one inning, giving up three runs on two hits with two walks and a strikeout.
The onslaught continued when a double steal by Stephens and Thomas paid off. Trent Miller's sac fly and Michael Adkins' RBI-single made it a 10-5 game.
Aaron Hyder tossed the final two innings for MT, shutting out the Cajuns and allowing just two hits while fanning three.
The Blue Raiders tacked on insurance runs in the seventh and eighth to account for the final score.
MT looks to make it three straight wins as the Blue Raiders and Cajuns meet for game two Saturday. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m.
HEAD COACH JIM MCGUIRE
On tonight's game...
"I didn't know if Hunter (Adkins) was going to make it out of the second inning the way the game started. And that's the way he's been going the last few starts. He's had some rough starts, but I was really proud of him tonight. He really battled through some things. The game didn't start out well for him or for us because they jumped on us early. They're a really aggressive team and you saw that tonight. And that put us in a tough situation. But once he settled down and we got going offensively, we were able to keep the game manageable until we broke it open late."
On coming back in this game...
"That's something we've been talking about before the game. We've been playing them for so long in the conference that we know how they are and what they're going to do. We knew they were going to come after us, but I'm not sure we were ready in the beginning. But when we got back into what we do, we were able to come back and have a nice game."
On the offense tonight...
"I was never really comfortable tonight. They're really good. And that's why we decided to bunt with Dain there when he came up late with two on and nobody out. Normally you wouldn't do that, but with their potent offense we knew we had to keep scoring. They're capable of running into one with runners on base, especially with the way the ball was carrying tonight, and then they're right back in the game, so we couldn't really take any chances tonight."
On tonight's win...
"We struggled a little bit early with some base-running mistakes and a couple mistakes in the field. But it was good to battle back and get the win over a really good Louisiana team."
On getting the first conference win...
"It feels really good because it's really important. We weren't trying to look ahead, just focus on this game and get a big win over a good team."
On hot streak of late...
"I'm feeling really good at the plate. I feel like I'm seeing the ball well, and I'm trying to do everything I can to help our team win."
SENIOR CATCHER DAIN MCNABB
On tonight's win...
"I thought it was a hard fought battle. Hunter (Adkins) came out and battled the whole game. And as the night went on, his stuff got better. It was a good team win tonight."
On the home run...
"It felt really good. I feel like I'm seeing the ball a lot better the more at-bats I get, and I was really happy with it."
On the rest of the series coming up...
"Louisiana is a really good team, and they're going to come out and punch us in the mouth right off the bat like they did tonight. We just have to keep battling from the start like we did tonight. It's great to get the first conference win of the season, especially against a good Louisiana team."
Friend of the Blue Raiders? Like us on Facebook and become part of the True Blue army today.
More Baseball NewsNov 18, 2013: Hyder's Highlights: The Omaha Challenge begins
Nov 13, 2013: Middle Tennessee Baseball signs eight for 2014 class
Nov 5, 2013: Hyder's Highlights: Raiders move to group workouts
Oct 30, 2013: Hyder's Highlights: Raiders close out fall
Oct 26, 2013: Blue limits White in Game 5 to claim World Series
Oct 25, 2013: Game Four of Blue-White Series suspended after 11