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Blue Raiders sweep Ragin' Cajuns for first time in program history

MT takes all three games with 9-3 Sunday win

March 24, 2013 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Catcher Michael Adkins and first baseman Trent Miller drove in three runs apiece and Zac Curtis delivered a career-best outing to help the Middle Tennessee baseball team complete the sweep of Louisiana with a 9-3 win on Sunday afternoon at Reese Smith Jr. Field. It marked the first sweep of the Ragin' Cajuns (17-6, 3-3 SBC) in program history.

After a base-hit to open the game, Curtis (4-2) retired nine in a row en route to the win. He went a career-long 7.2 innings and fanned a career-high nine, allowing three runs on five hits without walking a batter.

Adkins and Miller each homered for the second time in as many days. Adkins hit his third home run of the season and finished the day 3-for-5 with two runs, while Miller was 2-for-5 with his second long ball of the year.

For the first time in the series, MT (15-10, 3-3 SBC) got on the board first with a pair of runs in the second inning. Adkins reached on an error and third baseman Robert Lawrence drove him home with a two-out double to left. Rightfielder Jake Ellison plated the second run with his first career triple.

Louisiana took the lead on a two-out, three-run blast from designated hitter Caleb Adams in the sixth, but first baseman Trent Miller answered with a solo shot in the bottom half of the inning to knot things at three. Adkins made it back-to-back homers to put MT back on top when he drilled a shot off the scoreboard for the 4-3 advantage.

The back-to-back home runs were the first since Johnny Thomas and Matthew Drake went deep against Louisiana Tech on March 3, 2012.

Adkins delivered again in the seventh, this time driving a two-run double to the leftfield corner to make it a three-run cushion.

Ellison roped another triple off the right-centerfield wall to lead off the eighth, becoming the first Blue Raider to have a pair of three-baggers in a game since Lawrence accomplished the feat last year against Troy on April 13. Catcher Dain McNabb laced a double to left to make it a 7-3 contest.

Following a one hour and twenty minute rain delay, the Blue Raiders came out swinging again. With two on and two out, Miller poked a single through the left side of the infield to score both runners for the 9-3 advantage.

Closer Paul Mittura had entered before the rain delay and threw three pitches, and MT elected to bring Joey McClung on following the delay for the ninth. After a leadoff walk, McClung finished the Cajuns off with a strikeout to end the game.

MT hits the road for the next five games, heading to Memphis for a pair of midweek contests. The Blue Raiders and Tigers square off at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and 4 p.m. Wednesday.

HEAD COACH JIM MCGUIRE
On the first ever sweep of Louisiana in Sun Belt play...
"It's an unbelievable feeling. We have had so many battles with them over the years. To sweep them is very tough to do. They are one of the premiere players in the conference year in and year out. To get three wins against them this weekend is special."

On the starting pitching during the series...
"That's been the difference the past two weekends. We didn't have it the past two weekends. When we have it, we are pretty good. All three guys are capable of doing that every weekend. I don't know if Zac Curtis could have pitched any better. With the exception of the home run, I don't think he missed another pitch."

On how important it was to mentally bounce back after the three run home run...
"It was huge for us. You could feel the momentum start to swing. He left one ball up and the guy hit it a long way. But to come back the next inning and hit back-to-back home runs was big for us. Curtis went back out there and pitched great after that and we tacked on the runs to finish it off."

JUNIOR PITCHER ZAC CURTIS
On today's performance
"Coach (Skylar) Meade told me repeatedly to compete. He told me if I compete every pitch from start to beginning, they're not going to hit me. And I'll trust my defense any day. I'll challenge any hitter to get it past our defense."

On bouncing back after the three-run home run...
"I knew giving up a three-run homer would shift the momentum a little, but everything starts with pitching. I knew if I could just get the last out and get back to the dugout, our guys are capable of putting more runs up. I wasn't worried, it was just a mistake on my part."

On the sweep...
"It was huge, especially coming off last weekend. To come off this weekend and be .500 in the conference, it shows us that we can do it and shows the league we can do something special."

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