MT hosts Tennessee in Tuesday night showdown
Blue Raiders hold five-game winning streak over VolsMarch 10, 2014 · @MTAthletics
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee baseball team (5-9, 1-2 C-USA) returns home for the first of four straight at Reese Smith, Jr. Field when the Blue Raiders host No. 26 Tennessee (14-1) on Tuesday night at 6 p.m.
MT opened C-USA play last weekend at UAB, dropping two of three to the Blazers. The Raiders took the opener, 4-2, with a two-run ninth before falling by two-run margins on Saturday and Sunday. Senior LHP Zac Curtis matched his career high with his second-straight 10 strikeout performance on Friday vs. UAB. Curtis got a no-decision despite 7 2/3 innings with just one earned run allowed.
Junior IF Jake Ingold continued his success off the bench, hitting a sac fly and then drawing a walk after entering as a pinch-hitter on Saturday. Ingold has three RBI in two pinch-hitting appearances this year.
Junior IF Austin Bryant has continued his hot start to 2014, as his .366 average puts him sixth among Conference USA hitters.
The Blue Raiders swept Tennessee in last year's season series for the second year in a row, and have won five straight against the Volunteers. Tennessee fell for the first time in 2014 on Friday at Arizona State, but took two of three from the team that at the time was ranked No. 24 in the NCBWA poll.
Junior LHP Nathan Foriest will get his third start of the year for the Blue Raiders, and will be opposed by LHP Dylan Owenby for Tennessee.
Duane Hickey and John Callow will have the call on the Blue Raider Network at 92.5 FM WMOT2 and online at goblueraiders.com. Live stats and a webstream will also be available on goblueraiders.com.
NOTES (For full notes, view PDF):
MT has scored 8.8 runs per game in the first four starts of the year for senior LHP Zac Curtis, winning all of them. Curtis earned wins against Dayton (Feb. 21) and Kent State (Feb. 28), while getting a no-decision at Kennesaw State (Feb. 15) and UAB (March 7).
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT
Nine of MT's first 14 games of the year have been decided by two or fewer runs, including each of the last six. The Blue Raiders are 4-5 in those nine games, including a 3-3 mark in one-run games.
BLAZE OF GLORY
Despite dropping two of three to UAB this weekend, Middle Tennessee added a win to what has been an impressive year as an athletic department against the Blazers in the Blue Raiders' inaugural year in Conference USA. The women's soccer, volleyball, football, men's basketball, women's basketball and baseball teams have combined to go 8-2 against UAB in 2013-2014.
SETTING THE TABLE
Junior SS Dustin Delgado has reached base in 13 of 14 games to begin 2014, while serving as the leadoff hitter in all of them. In the one game Delgado did not reach base, he recorded an RBI, in Friday's 4-2 win at UAB.
Junior C Michael Adkins has played in 13 games in 2014, starting 12 at catcher and one at DH. He has reached base in all but one of them, recording a .345 on-base percentage.
NINE AT NINE
In 12 games hitting ninth for the Blue Raiders, junior IF Austin Bryant has hit .395 with six multi-hit games, including a three-hit showing vs. Tennessee Tech (Feb. 18).
PENNING A MASTERPIECE
The Blue Raider bullpen combined for seven scoreless innings in Wednesday's game vs. No. 6 Vanderbilt. Freshman RHP Will Small and sophomore RHP Heath Slatton each gave MT three shutout innings, while senior LHP Cody Tollison and sophomore RHP Garrett Ring combined for a scoreless ninth.
Junior LHP Nathan Foriest has made two appearances in 2014 of four or more innings pitched with one run or fewer allowed. Foriest surrendered one run on two hits in a four-inning start vs. Tennessee Tech on Feb. 18, before tossing 4 2/3 innings of scoreless relief on March 1 against Kent State.
MT vs. SEC
The Blue Raiders went 4-1 against the SEC in 2013, with two wins over in-state foe Tennessee and one each over Vanderbilt and Auburn. MT will play four games against the SEC in 2014, playing home-and-home series against both Vanderbilt and Tennessee.
UP NEXT: CHARLOTTE
The Blue Raiders host Charlotte in the first home Conference USA series for MT at Reese Smith, Jr. Field. The Blue Raiders and 49ers will play Friday, March 14 at 6 p.m., Saturday, March 15 at 4 p.m., and Sunday, March 16 at 1 p.m.
Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.
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