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MT Baseball visits Southern Miss for weekend series

Sunday's contest to air nationally on FS1

April 3, 2014 · @MTAthletics

Middle Tennessee (13-15, 7-5 C-USA) baseball travels to Hattiesburg, Miss., for a Conference USA weekend series at Southern Miss (17-13, 6-3 C-USA). Friday's contest is set for 6 p.m. with Saturday having a 2 p.m. first pitch. The finale on Sunday will be featured nationally on FS1 at 1:30 p.m.

The Blue Raiders have won five out of their last seven, including taking 2-of-3 against No. 10 Rice. MT is looking for its first series victory on the road in league play. 

Off the heels of earning Conference USA Co-Pitcher of the Week honors, left-hander Zac Curtis (3-1, 3.17 ERA) will get the nod on Friday. He faces USM ace righty Christian Talley (2-1, 1.71 ERA). Senior Paul Mittura (1-1, 2.64 ERA) takes the mound on Saturday faces off against Golden Eagle right-hander Conor Fisk (2-1, 2.76 ERA). On Sunday, junior Jonathan Frebis (2-3, 4.29 ERA) gets the start in the Blue Raiders' first regular season nationally televised game. USM senior RHP Cameron Giannini (2-2, 3.83 ERA) gets the third start for the Golden Eagles. 

Jared Allen has lit it up during the last five games, hitting .438 (7-of-16) with four runs scored, a double, a triple, a homer and two RBI. Currently, senior Trent Miller is tied with Rice's Shane Hoelscher for a league-leading 12 doubles.  

USM has won six out of its last seven, which includes a series victory over Florida Atlantic last weekend. The Golden Eagles defeated New Orleans (9-7) and South Alabama (3-1) for a pair of midweek victories this week.

Southern Miss junior Matt Durst leads the Golden Eagle offense with a .304 batting average and 10 extra-base hits. Mason Robbins has drove in a team-best 22 Southern Miss runs in 30 games this
season.

Dick Palmer will call all three games this weekend on WMOT2 (92.5 FM). Sunday's nationally televised broadcast will air on FS1 with Ron Thulin describing the play-by-play and Pete Combs providing the analysis.

NOTES (For full notes, view PDF):

Curtis Grounds Owls, earns weekly honors

Senior LHP Zac Curtis held No. 10 Rice to one earned run while striking out seven in a complete-game win over the Owls on Friday night. Curtis was named Conference USA Co-Pitcher of the Week and the Tennessee Sports Writers Association Pitcher of the Week for his performance.

Two Bases Are Better Than One

Senior 1B Trent Miller's double against Rice on March 31 moved him into sole possession of sixth place on the Blue Raiders' all-time doubles list. The Kansas City product added two more in the midweek series against Memphis for 54 in his career. Miller is just three away from reaching fourth all-time held by Jeff Beachum and Rawley Bishop. His 12 doubles this season is tied for the league-best.

Too Close for Comfort

Seventeen of MT's first 27 games of the year have been decided by two or fewer runs, a mark that puts them in the top 10 nationally. The Blue Raiders are 9-8 in those 16 games, including a 7-4 mark in one-run games.

The National Spotlight

The Blue Raiders will face Southern Miss this Sunday, April 6 in Hattiesburg, Miss., in a game nationally-televised on FOX Sports 1. The game will be the first nationally-televised regular season game in MT program history.

Triple-Threat Stephens

Senior Ryan Stephens belted his first triple of the season against Memphis on Wednesday evening. It marked the seventh time in his career Stephens has nabbed a triple, which is one shy of reaching 10th all-time in program history.

Up Next: Belmont 

Middle Tennessee returns to Murfreesboro on Tuesday for a midweek home game against in-state foe Belmont. The Bruins are 10-18 overall and 2-7 in OVC play. BU, which has won three straight, hosts UT Martin in a weekend series beginning on Friday. Tuesday's matchup will air locally on MT10 and online at GoBlueRaiders.com.

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