Blue Raiders host Tennessee for Blue Out Tuesday
Fans encouraged to wear blue, first 200 students receive free t-shirtApril 22, 2013 · @MTAthletics
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee baseball team is set to host Tennessee for a mid-week contest on Tuesday night at Reese Smith Jr. Field beginning at 6 p.m.
It will be the first of two matchups in the span of a week against the Volunteers. The Blue Raiders will travel to Knoxville Tuesday, April 30.
MT (22-20, 7-11 Sun Belt) is coming off a dramatic 3-2 win over FIU on Sunday. The Blue Raiders salvaged the finale on solid pitching and defense after dropping the first two games of the series to the Panthers.
The Vols currently lead the all-time series with the Blue Raiders, 31-17. However, MT is on a three-game winning streak against the Vols, including two victories a year ago. Last time out, the Blue Raiders defeated UT by a final score of 11-4 at Reese Smith Jr. Field on May 15, 2012.
Paul Mittura (0-1) gets the nod and will be making his first start of the season for MT. Mittura, a regular closer for the blue and white, has made 18 appearances this season and, in 20.2 innings of work, has struck out 18 batters while giving up just seven earned runs. He carries a 3.05 ERA into the matchup.
Centerfielder Ryan Stephens continues to provide the consistency at the plate with his .331 average this year and his .438 slugging percentage ranks first on the squad. He has produced 21 RBI this season, belted one home run and touched home 23 times. Stephens has also been a thorn in the Vols' side, driving in the game-winning run last year in Knoxville and going 3-for-4 with a home run in the latter meeting in Murfreesboro.
The Vols (17-21, 5-13 SEC) got off to a rough start this season winning just three of their first nine games. Tennessee was swept by Ole Miss over the weekend in Knoxville.
The Vols will send Blake Thomas (2-0) to the mound as he will be making just his second start of the season. This year, Thomas has worked eleven innings and allowed five runs, four of which were earned, and struck out six at the plate. Opposing batters are hitting .311 against him.
At the plate for the Volunteers, Scott Price leads the charge with his .346 average and he has started all 33 games for the Vols this year. His two home runs are tied for first on the team and his .466 slugging percentage is also good for a team-high.
Fans are encouraged to wear blue as part of the Blue Out and the first 200 students will receive a free t-shirt.
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