Ford homers as Blue Raiders fall to Trojans in series finale

Shortstop belts second home run of the season

March 31, 2013 · @MTAthletics

TROY, Ala. - Shortstop Ryan Ford hit his second home run of the season, but it was not enough as the Middle Tennessee baseball team fell to Troy, 5-3, in the series finale on Sunday afternoon at Riddle-Pace Field.

Ford finished the contest 1-for-3 with two RBI, and centerfielder Ryan Stephens drove in the Blue Raiders' only other run.

MT (16-14, 3-6 Sun Belt) had a chance to push a run across early in the contest, loading the bases in the third with no outs, but Trojan starter Shane McCain (5-0) retired the top of the order with a strikeout and pair of flyouts to keep it scoreless.

McCain would go on to pick up the win, allowing three runs, all earned, on six hits in seven innings of work. He struck out nine and walked one.

Troy (19-7, 6-3 SBC) put the first run on the board in the fourth. Designated hitter Logan Pierce led off with a single and rightfielder Danny Collins drove him home with a double for the 1-0 lead.

Stephens knotted things up in the next half inning when he ripped a two-out triple to the gap in right-center. Leftfielder Dathan Prewett scored on Stephens' three-bagger after collecting his first collegiate hit to lead off the frame.

The Trojans broke the 1-1 tie in the bottom half of the fifth when shortstop Tyler Vaughn delivered a two-RBI single with one out. Pierce followed with his third straight single, plating Vaughn for the 4-1 advantage.

An error in the sixth cost MT another run. Third baseman Matthew Howard walked to open the inning, then second baseman Garrett Pitts knocked a soft grounder back to the mound. Reliever Paul Mittura knocked it down with his bare hand, but threw it past Hank LaRue at first, allowing Howard to score all the way from first to make it 5-1.

Ford brought the Blue Raiders within two with his two-out, two-run shot in the seventh. After catcher Dain McNabb took a two-out walk, Ford smoked an 0-1 pitch over the leftfield wall to make it 5-3.

MT managed another single in the eighth, but Howard came on in the ninth and retired the Blue Raiders in order to pick up his fifth save of the year.

Zac Curtis (4-3) took the loss, allowing four runs, all earned, on six hits through4.1 innings. Mittura tossed the final 3.2 innings, giving up the one unearned run on one hit.

The Blue Raiders look to rebound at No. 3 Vanderbilt on Tuesday. First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m. at Hawkins Field.

On leaving the bases loaded in the third...
"We had our chance again. Early in the game we load the bases with nobody out. We executed, got in position again and came up empty handed. I really believe if we could've got a little something going there and scored a couple runs, Curtis would've been a little more relaxed and a little more confident. When you leave the bases loaded it was kind of deflating."

On Dalton Henzman and Dathan Prewett...
"Dalton has shown some promise. He usually hits lefthanders pretty well. He got a big double in that inning and we didn't capitalize on it. He's earned the right to get some more at-bats.

"We got Dathan in for the first time. He's an exciting player and has a chance to be a very good player for us down the line. He got a hit and made a couple nice plays in the outfield. Glad to get him out there and get his feet wet."

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