MT walks off with victory in 10th to clinch series over ULM

McNabb's hit-by-pitch provides game-winning run

May 12, 2013 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Trent Miller's run-scoring double and Dain McNabb's bases-loaded hit-by-pitch propelled Middle Tennessee to a 5-4 victory in 10 innings over ULM to clinch the series on Sunday afternoon at Reese Smith Jr. Field.

After the Warhawks (18-33, 7-20 Sun Belt) homered in the top of the 10th to take a 4-3 lead, Hank LaRue sparked the rally in the bottom of the frame with a leadoff single. Miller then laced the two-bagger to right-center and LaRue sped home from first to knot things up at 4-4. A pair of intentional walks loaded the bases before McNabb took a pitch in the back to plate the winning run.

Prior to MT's two runs in the 10th, all of the previous runs in the game had come via the long ball.

Ryan Stephens got things started with a two-run shot in the first that gave the Blue Raiders (28-25, 11-16 SBC) a 2-0 lead. It marked his fourth homer of the season.

MT starter Hunter Adkins had shut the door on ULM through the first five innings, scattering five hits during the stretch, until a three-run blast off the bat of Justin Stawychny put the Warhawks on top in the sixth. Adkins finished the contest allowing the three runs on nine hits with five strikeouts.

Jake Ellison delivered the tying blow in the seventh, evening up the score at 3-3 with his seventh homer of the year.

The Warhawks threatened to re-take the lead in the eighth after capitalizing on three consecutive walks to load the bases, but the Blue Raiders turned a double play to end the inning and maintain the tie.

After a scoreless ninth, Stawychny came to the plate with two outs in 10th. He hit a long fly to left that was originally called a foul ball, but after a meeting of the umpires, he was awarded a home run to give the Warhawks the one-run lead.

The Blue Raiders responded with the two-run rally to capture the victory, as Joey McClung (3-2) picked up the win after tossing 1.1 innings and allowing just the home run.

Miller finished the day 2-for-3 with an RBI and scored the first and last runs of the game.

Carey Taylor (1-6) took the loss for ULM, going 2.1 innings and allowing two runs on two hits.

MT welcomes WKU this week for the final series of the regular season. First pitch is slated for Thursday at 6 p.m.

On how the game finished...
"That would not be the ideal way to get the win, but we were going to take it any way we could get it. What a great comeback with Hank leading off the inning with a hit. It was an unselfish play by Trent to drive the ball the other way instead of trying to pull it. A lot of power guys we have had here before would be trying to hit it in the stadium to win the game but instead he went the other way with it for the double. But it was a great comeback."

On the players battling back after the run was scored to win the game...
"They could have rolled over, but they didn't. We had the right guys coming up, and in the back of my mind, I knew we had the guys coming to bat that could do something whether it was tie it up or win the game. I told them afterward that I was proud of them for coming back and battling to win it. I don't want the home run that Ellison hit to get lost because that tied the game when we were scuffling and not doing much offensively. He really picked us up to get that game tied."

On his game-tying hit...
"I knew they were probably going to stay away even though the wind is blowing in today. The ball is traveling still. So, I just knew to stay middle-away and think off-speed. I was just sitting fastball and try to react to anything else and just try to put us in a good situation. It's funny how they were playing us all weekend. They were playing us on the lines and the corner outfield. I just tried to drive one to right-center. That's what we worked on a lot. It fell our way this weekend, whereas last weekend it fell South Alabama's way. It's definitely a good win, especially a walk-off. It's good momentum. We just need to ride this wave on to next weekend.

On conference fate...
"We just need to play like we're capable of. Coach McGuire is always talking about 'Play a good game. Play a good game.' So, overall we always want to get to three wins, obviously. Every team would love to do that, but we just need to come out and play our best, get behind our pitchers and let our bats keep rolling."

On extra motivation facing WKU...
"It's always a good one whenever we're playing WKU whether it's up at their place or down here. It's our first conference weekend and our last conference weekend. I was talking to one of my other teammates, and I was like, 'I know it's going to come down to this last weekend versus Western Kentucky,' and that was two weeks in. It's always a big weekend for both of us. We'll see what we can do and just keep playing as a team."

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.