Curtis solid in start despite Middle Tennessee's loss at No. 20 South Alabama

Junior goes nine innings, allows one earned run

May 4, 2013 · @MTAthletics

MOBILE, Ala. - No. 20 South Alabama's three-run rally erased an outstanding performance by Middle Tennessee starting pitcher Zac Curtis as the Jaguars claimed a 3-2 extra-inning win on Saturday night at Stanky Field.

The Blue Raiders (25-24, 8-15 Sun Belt) capitalized on an error in the third to score the game's first runs. Catcher Dain McNabb went all the way to second on the shortstop's miscue, and Ryan Ford drove him in with a base-knock. Centerfielder Ryan Stephens plated the second run with a sacrifice fly for the 2-0 lead.

With the 2-0 lead, Curtis continued to deal a gem. He retired seven in a row through the middle innings and didn't walk a batter until the ninth.

The Jaguars (36-12, 17-6 SBC) managed to push a run across in the sixth on a leadoff triple and RBI-groundout, but Curtis stranded the tying run at third to escape the inning with a 2-1 lead.

Curtis produced his fourth 1-2-3 inning of the game in the seventh, but a hit batter and error in the eighth proved costly as South Alabama tied the game on first baseman Jordan Patterson's RBI-single.

As the game went to extra innings, Joey McClung (2-2) came on in relief of Curtis. Curits exited after giving up two runs, just one earned, on seven hits while striking out seven and walking one in the career-long outing of nine innings.

McClung picked up two quick outs before three consecutive singles resulted in the game-winning run for the Jaguars in the 10th.

Dylan Stamey (2-1) picked up the win for South Alabama after tossing an inning and a third of shutout relief.

Game three of the series is slated for 1 p.m. Sunday.

After Friday's game was suspended with the Blue Raiders leading 11-9 in the top of the 14th, the Jaguars rallied in the bottom of the inning to take the 12-11 win.

Jordan Cooper (3-3) took the mound for the Blue Raiders and put the first runner aboard on a hit-by-pitch. With two outs, it began to unravel for MT. An errant throw to second on a fielder's choice would have ended the game, but instead put two Jaguars on. Cooper then hit back-to-back batters to trim the Blue Raiders' lead to one with the bases still loaded. Back-to-back bases-loaded walks handed the winning run to South Alabama.

On two tough losses today...
"Obviously very, very disappointed with two extra-inning losses to the first-place team. We should have won both ballgames. We just let the game slip away from us, whether it's not adding on runs when we need to or not pitching it when we have to. It's just hard to get it done right now because when it really gets tough, we just don't seem to make the play or the pitch."

On critical errors in both games...
"It's something you're never going to expect and you can't predict it. In the first game, we're right there and obviously if (Hank LaRue) makes the play, the game's over with and we win. But I got caught because I just didn't think Jordan would implode like that, and I didn't have someone ready to go. The plan going in was to let Jordan have it with all of their left-handed hitters coming up. We just didn't make the play, but he didn't make any pitches and it fell apart."

On Curtis' performance...
"You can't say enough about Zac Cutis. He really came out in the second game and gave us a big lift again just like he did last weekend. He really competed and has been our most consistent guy. I told the team after, "There's nobody questioning what that guy has going on." His toughness, his competitiveness, he wants to be in there when the game's on the line."

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