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Middle Tennessee clashes with MVSU this weekend

Blue Raiders and Delta Devils meet for first time since 2009

April 10, 2014 · @MTAthletics

THE MATCHUP

Friday, April 11 - 6 p.m. (TGIF Fridays)

LHP Zac Curtis (4-1, 2.83 ERA) vs. LHP Jonathan Parker (0-5, 4.17 ERA) 

Saturday, April 12 - 4 p.m. (Legends Game/Alumni Appreciation)

RHP Paul Mittura (1-2, 3.35 ERA) vs. RHP Blake Thomas (0-4, 8.18 ERA) 

Sunday, April 13 - 1 p.m. (Little League Sunday)

LHP Johnathan Frebis (2-3, 5.12 ERA) vs. RHP Connor Sheppeard (1-7, 7.99 ERA)

MURFREESBORO - Middle Tennessee (15-18) baseball steps away from Conference USA action this weekend with a non-conference three-game series against Mississippi Valley State (1-25). First pitch for Friday is set for 6 p.m., Saturday at 4 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. at Reese Smith Jr. Field.

The Blue Raiders went 1-1 in the midweek with a 4-0 shutout over Belmont on Tuesday before falling 10-3 at Tennessee Tech on Wednesday. MT is looking to rebound with a weekend series win after losing two of three at Southern Miss last weekend.

Lefty Zac Curtis (4-1, 2.83 ERA) starts on Friday for the Raiders. The senior ranks fourth nationally with 70 strikeouts. He has punched out a league-leading 48 during conference games. RHP Paul Mittura (1-2, 3.35 ERA) makes his fifth start of the season on Saturday, while LHP Johnathan Frebis (2-3, 5.12 ERA) takes the mound on Sunday.

Offensively, the Raiders are led by senior Trent Miller, who is boasting a team-best .354 batting average. Miller's 14 doubles are tied for the league lead with Rice's Shane Holescher. Jared Allen's five home runs is tops in C-USA. Meanwhile, leadoff hitter Dustin Delgado has reached on base in 31 of 33 games this season.

The Delta Devils have lost six consecutive games dating back to March 23. MVSU's lone victory came in an 8-6 win over Alcorn State in Moorhead, Miss. Through 25 games, MVSU is hitting .209 with a .277 on-base percentage. The pitching staff has struggled, allowing 229 runs in 210-plus innings for an ERA of 7.78.

Jonathan Parker (0-5, 4.17 ERA) gets the nod on Friday, while right-hander Blake Thomas (0-4, 8.18 ERA) starts Saturday. RHP Connor Sheppeard (1-7, 7.99 ERA) closes out the weekend series for the Delta Devils.

All three games this weekend will air on 92.5 FM WMOT2. Fans can listen and watch the games online at GoBlueRaiders.com.

NOTES (For full notes, view PDF):

Miller a Pillar In Blue Raider lineup

Senior 1B Trent Miller has started all 33 games so far this year for the Blue Raiders, making 31 starts at first base and two in right field. Miller has hit third in all 33 games, leading the Blue Raiders in average (.354), slugging (.523), RBI (22), and a Conference-USA best 14 doubles. Miller ranks second in C-USA with 46 hits and 68 total bases.

Curtis Collecting Ks in Conference USA

Senior LHP Zac Curtis tossed his second-straight complete-game victory on Friday night in a 13-1 win over Southern Miss. Curtis has recorded a 1.13 ERA over five Conference USA starts, striking out 48 batters against nine walks, with a .231 average against. The 48 punchouts in conference games and 70 on the season both lead Conference USA. His 70 K's rank fourth nationally, while his strikeouts per game total is 12th in the NCAA.

All the Hits from Corner to Corner

Seniors Trent Miller and Hank LaRue - the Blue Raiders' first and third basemen for the majority of the year - continue to climb the Blue Raiders' all-time hit chart. Miller notched four hits in the midweek for 211 in his career. LaRue's pair of hits against Belmont and Tennessee Tech moved his all-time mark to 208.

Allen Hammers The Long Bomb

Jared Allen is tied with three others in Conference USA for a league-leading five home runs. The junior ranks second on the squad with 12 extra-base hits this spring.

Setting The Table

Junior SS Dustin Delgado has reached base in 31 of 33 games to begin 2014, while serving as the leadoff hitter and shortstop in all of them. Coming into the weekend, Delgado has belted doubles in back-to-back games.

Up Next: No. 11 Vanderbilt

Middle Tennessee opens a five-game road swing with a visit to No. 11 Vanderbilt on Tuesday, April 15. VU rebounded from a series loss at Tennessee with a 6-2 drubbing of Indiana State on Tuesday. The Commodores are 26-8 overall and 6-6 in SEC play.

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