Blue Raiders fall to Trojans in series-opener

Hank LaRue goes 3-for-4

April 5, 2013 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee baseball team fell to the UALR Trojans, 11-1, on Friday night at Reese Smith Jr. Field.

The Trojans' (15-14, 4-6 SBC) runs, for the most part, came in bulk and forced MT starter Hunter Adkins (4-3) from the contest after three innings. Adkins took the loss after giving up seven runs, five earned, on seven hits. He walked one and struck out five.

Shortstop Austin Pfeiffer's solo shot in the first inning gave UALR a 1-0 lead, and the Trojans would add four more in the next inning. An error and walk put two on before a sacrifice bunt advanced both runners. Centerfielder Bryson Thionnet and third baseman Ben Crumpton hit back-to-back doubles to drive three runs, and an RBI-single from catcher Blake Johnson made it 5-0.

Rightfielder Sam Vogel's two-run blast to left field put the Trojans up, 7-0.

Kooper Kessler entered the contest in the fourth and held UALR to two hits over the next three frames before giving way to Cody Tollison.

While the Trojans' offense produced, so did starter Chance Cleveland (4-4). Cleveland picked up the win with an eight-inning, 11-strikeout performance. He gave up one run on six hits and didn't walk a batter.

MT's (16-16, 3-7 SBC) lone run came in the fourth when the Blue Raiders reeled off three straight two-out hits. Rightfielder Trent Miller got it started with a base-knock and first baseman Hank LaRue made it back-to-back singles with one to right field. Designated hitter Michael Adkins drove Miller home with another base-knock to the left-center gap.

LaRue finished the day 3-for-4 and Miller was 2-for-4 with a run.

The Trojans put four more on the board in the eighth, with three of them coming on a home run from Johnson, to account for the final score.

The two teams square off again Saturday at 4 p.m., and the game will feature Bark in the Park, with fans able to bring their dogs to Reese Smith Jr. Field. Johnathan Frebis will take the mound for the Blue Raiders.

On tonight's game...
"It's not how we wanted we start the series. And the first couple of innings dictated the whole night, unfortunately. It's great to get back home from that long road trip, but we didn't take advantage of it."

On Chance Cleveland's pitching...
"You have to match up with him right away and that's how we were able to beat him last year. Hunter (Adkins) went against him last year, and they had a battle the whole game then. But we saw why he's the (Sun Belt) Preseason Pitcher of the Year. He's got great stuff, and he's a great competitor. We knew going in that if we let them get a lead early, we'd be in trouble." 

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