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MT clashes with No. 10 Rice in three-game set

Games Friday, Saturday & Sunday at Reese Smith, Jr. Field

March 27, 2014 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee baseball team (10-13, 5-4 C-USA) hosts No. 10 Rice (20-7, 8-1 C-USA) for a three-game Conference USA series this Friday through Sunday at Reese Smith, Jr. Field. The two teams will square off Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 4 p.m., and Sunday at noon.

The Blue Raiders look to build on back-to-back wins, having most recently defeated Lipscomb 7-5 on Tuesday with two runs in the seventh inning on wild pitches. Freshman RHP Caleb Smith picked up his second win of the year, while sophomore RHP Heath Slatton tallied his first career save.

Senior 1B Trent Miller enters the weekend on a 12-game hitting streak, and has moved to a tie for sixth in program history in doubles with 51. Miller and fellow senior IF Hank LaRue are both nearing their 200th career hits as Blue Raiders, with LaRue entering the weekend at 198 and Miller at 197.

VIDEO
Baseball vs. No. 10 Rice
Senior LHP Zac Curtis will start Friday for the Blue Raiders, sporting a 2-1 record and 3.66 ERA. Curtis leads C-USA in strikeouts with 52. Senior RHP Paul Mittura will make his third start of the year on Saturday, while junior LHP Johnathan Frebis will start Sunday.

Rice is hitting .283 through 27 games, and has recorded a 2.38 ERA and 1.14 WHIP so far this year. All three starters this weekend - Zach Lemond, Blake Fox and Chase McDowell - have tallied an ERA of 1.38 or better.

Saturday's game will be Military Appreciation Day at Reese Smith, Jr. Field. The Middle Tennessee ROTC will present our nation's colors, a member of the ROTC will sing the national anthem, and Ken Crowell, a veteran and Middle Tennessee alum, will throw out the first pitch. The Blue Raiders will wear their alternate camouflage hats for the game.

Dick Palmer and John Callow will have the call for all three games on the Blue Raider Network on 92.5 WMOT2 and at goblueraiders.com.

NOTES (For full notes, view PDF):

TWO BASES ARE BETTER THAN ONE
Senior 1B Trent Miller's 12-game hitting streak has catapulted him all the way to a tie for sixth in program history in doubles with 51. Miller is tied with three other Blue Raiders for sixth - George Zimmermann, Mudcat Brewer and Blake McDade. Next up on the list are Jeff Beachum and Rawley Bishop, who both doubled 57 times during their time in Murfreesboro.

A MAGNIFICENT SEVEN
Junior IF Jake Ingold has seven RBI over his last seven games, while hitting .320 during that stretch. The Illinois native has had two multi-RBI games in that stretch, highlighted by driving in three runs on Sunday at Tulane.

TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT
Fifteen of MT's first 23 games of the year have been decided by two or fewer runs, a mark that puts them in the top five nationally. The Blue Raiders are 7-8 in those 15 games, including a 5-4 mark in one-run games.

SLATTON SLAMS THE DOOR
Sophomore RHP Heath Slatton picked up his first career save Tuesday night against Lipscomb with a 1-2-3 ninth. Slatton has pitched in a team-high 11 games on the year for the Blue Raiders, notching a 2-1 record with one save.

BLUE MAN GROUP
The Blue Raiders are 2-0 this year when wearing their blue alternate jersey and traditional blue cap at home. Middle Tennessee wore the blue jerseys for the first time in a midweek game on Tuesday night vs. Lipscomb, snapping the team's midweek drought in a 7-5 victory.

UP NEXT: MEMPHIS
Middle Tennessee continues its homestand with a two-game, midweek series against Memphis on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 1 and 2. Both games will be at 6 p.m.

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