Miller, Ford homer in loss to WKU
Miller goes 4-for-5 with four RBIMay 16, 2013 · @MTAthletics
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - First baseman Trent Miller's 4-for-5, four-RBI day was not enough as WKU erased a five-run deficit to knock off Middle Tennessee, 11-8, on Thursday night at Reese Smith Jr. Field.
Miller went deep for the eighth time this year, while shortstop Ryan Ford added his fifth long ball of the year on a 2-for-3 day at the plate.
Ford's home run sparked MT's bats in the first inning, as he took the second pitch of the frame over the leftfield wall. Centerfielder Ryan Stephens and leftfielder Dalton Henzman added RBI-singles to make it 3-0 after just an inning.
Miller's two-run shot to left in the second built the Blue Raiders' (28-26, 11-17 Sun Belt) lead to five.
The Hilltoppers (26-27, 14-14 SBC) stormed back with a four-run third to make it a one-run game. WKU scored a pair on a single and sacrifice fly before first baseman Ryan Huck delivered a two-run blow that made it 5-4.
Another base-hit and RBI for Miller gave the Blue Raiders a two-run cushion in the fourth, but the Hilltoppers responded with three runs in the fifth to take a 7-6 lead, again thanks in part to a two-run double from Huck.
Miller and Ford combined to score the game-tying run in the sixth. Ford took a one-out walk and moved to second after a hit batter, then scored as Miller ripped a single over the shortstop's outstretched glove.
WKU seesawed back into the lead with a pair of runs in the seventh. The Hilltoppers capitalized on a hit batter and walk with the bases loaded to take the 9-7 lead.
The Blue Raiders mustered a bases-loaded walk of their own in the eighth to pull within a run, but WKU closed the door in the top of the ninth with a pair of insurance runs to seal the victory.
Jordan Cooper (4-4) took the loss for MT with 2.0 innings of work, giving up two runs, both earned, on a hit. He walked four and struck out four.
WKU's Tim Bado (3-3) earned the win, going 2.0 innings and allowing a run on three hits with a walk and a strikeout. Taylor Haydel tossed the final 1.2 innings of shutout ball to earn his seventh save.
The two teams will meet for game two on Friday at 6 p.m. Johnathan Frebis will take the mound for MT.
HEAD COACH JIM MCGUIRE
On the game...
"We jumped out with five runs and thought that might get (Zac) Curtis going a little bit but it didn't. That was my biggest fear with him throwing today was we shorted him up another day of rest. We've kept moving him up. He was our Sunday starter and now he's throwing on Thursday, so moving up each week has taken its toll, and the last few times out he hasn't been very good. He battled but couldn't get it going, and we didn't pitch well after that."
On getting help from other teams to get into the conference tournament...
"I just want us to win. The scoreboard watching is very difficult to do and if we don't play well tomorrow then we know we have to have a ton of help to get in. We need to win a ballgame and we need to win tomorrow. We need to win both games. That is the only way we are sure to get in. Hopefully we can come out tomorrow and do what we need to do."
FIRST BASEMAN TRENT MILLER
On today's game...
"They're a good team. We came out and fought and jumped out to a 5-0 lead. But they showed the caliber of team they are and came right back. Their first baseman (Ryan) Huck has been hitting the ball well all year. And tonight he had guys in situations and they were able to capitalize. We had our chances too, even me there late with bases loaded and one out, but the pitcher just beat me. I have to tip my cap to him and move on to the next day."
On winning tomorrow...
"We just have to let tonight go and come out tomorrow with a clean slate. We still control our own destiny and if we win the next two days we're in the tournament. But we just have to clear our heads and go from at-bat to at-bat. It's coming close to the end now for the seniors, too, so we just have to come out and enjoy it and get back to like it was when we were little kids."
Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.
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