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Henzman homer seals win over ULM, 7-6

Cooper earns the win on four pitch performance

May 11, 2013 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Blue Raider baseball team held on for a 7-6 win over the ULM Warhawks on Saturday afternoon at Reese Smith Jr. Field. Earlier in the day, the Warhawks (18-32, 7-19 Sun Belt) captured an 11-3 win in the completion of Friday's game, which was suspended due to heavy rain.

The two teams traded runs in the first and second innings before ULM scored a pair in the third to break up the tie. MT (27-25, 10-16 SBC) rallied in the fourth to knot things up at three thanks to RBI-singles from shortstop Ryan Ford and third baseman Austin Bryant.

Ford finished the day 3-for-5 with two runs scored and one RBI.

The Warhawks threatened to break up the tie in the seventh, knocking a couple of hits to put runners at second and third as Jordan Cooper entered in relief of starter Johnathan Frebis. Cooper fanned the first batter and induced a foul pop up to pick up the final two outs and preserve the tie.

Cooper (4-3) would go on to pick up the win after throwing just four pitches. Frebis tossed 6.1 innings and allowed three runs on 10 hits with three strikeouts.

The Blue Raiders carried Cooper's momentum into the bottom of the seventh, breaking up the tie with a trio of runs. Designated hitter Hank LaRue crossed on a double play ball, but it was two-run blast from leftfielder Dalton Henzman that gave MT some breathing room. Henzman smashed a 2-0 pitch into the football stadium, his third long ball of the year, to make it a 6-3 game.

MT tacked on what turned out to be a critical insurance run in the eighth. Ford singled and eventually moved to third on a wild pitch before scoring on a groundout from first baseman Trent Miller.

Miller was 2-for-5 in the contest with a run and pair of RBI, driving in the first and last runs of the contest for MT.

Daniel Palo came on to close things out on the mound for MT in the eighth, but ran into trouble in the ninth. A two-run home run off the bat of first baseman Corben Green gave the Warhawks some life, then back-to-back doubles brought them within a run. With two on and one out, Palo picked up a strikeout and induced a grounder to first to clinch his eighth save of the year.

The two teams will meet for the rubber game on Sunday at 1 p.m. Hunter Adkins will take the mound for the Blue Raiders.

HEAD COACH JIM MCGUIRE

On the game
"It was not going very good in that last inning. Daniel had the ball up a little bit. You have to give them credit. They have really swung the bat these first two games and they have made us pay anytime we made a mistake. They are blistering it all over the place. We need to pitch better tomorrow but we are thankful to hold on to the second one today."

On Jordan Cooper's efforts today after a rough outing last week
"He came in during a rough situation with second and third and one out and got the strikeout. Then he gets two huge outs and that's after pitching some last night to. We didn't want to bring him back the way the score was in the first game, but if we need him for an out or two in the second game we knew we had him. Everything played out right and when we got there, he was good to go. I think he was the difference today."

On how close he was to pulling Palo in the ninth
"I really wanted Palo to finish it out, but Hyder was ready. We also started to get everyone ready. Once we get in those situations, it's about getting them all out there to finish the job. Luckily, Daniel was able to finish it and we didn't have to use another guy in the pen. We were going to do whatever it took. Green has really swung it good but we had the lefty matchup and took advantage of it."

SHORTSTOP RYAN FORD

On day at the plate
"I'm just trying to get on base. That's the main thing for me, especially the first inning. But every time I come to the plate, it's just huge to get on base and lead off. It gives our team a lot of energy, and we can really get something going from it."

On coming from behind and holding on late
"Definitely a good team win all around. Lately, it seems like it's every game where we're having to go through something like that in the ninth, but it was good the way we battled and stayed with it and pulled it off."

On motivation going forward
"[The Sun Belt Tournament] is what we're playing for. You have to take every game like it's your last. Every game is a must-win now. Tomorrow is probably the biggest game of the year for us. We've got to go out there and get it done."

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