Raiders open five-game road swing at No. 18 Vandy

Middle Tennessee and Commodores square off at 6:30 p.m.

April 14, 2014 · @MTAthletics


Tuesday, April 15 - 6:30 p.m. (Hawkins Field - Nashville, Tenn.)

RHP Kooper Kessler (2-0, 3.10 ERA) vs. RHP Walker Buehler (6-1, 1.65 ERA)

MURFREESBORO - Middle Tennessee baseball opens a five-game road swing with a visit to No. 18 Vanderbilt on Tuesday, April 15. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. at Hawkins Field in Nashville.

Right-hander Kooper Kessler (2-0, 3.10 ERA) will make his second midweek start, matching up against Vanderbilt's Walker Buehler (6-1, 1.65 ERA). The Blue Raiders (18-18) are coming off a series sweep of Mississippi Valley State. Meanwhile, Vanderbilt (27-10) dropped two of three in Nashville to SEC foe Texas A&M.

Middle Tennessee's Trent Miller enters Tuesday's game with a team-best .371 batting average. The Kansas City native leads C-USA with 17 doubles and 81 total bases this season. Miller is three doubles shy of moving into third.

Four Commodores are hitting above .300 with Dansby Swanson holding a .359 average (51-of-142) with 18 extra-base hits. Swanson is also the Dores' top base stealer with 14 snags in 18 attempts.

The then-ranked No. 5 Commodores edged the Blue Raiders, 4-3, on March 4 in Murfreesboro. VU scored four early runs to preserve the win for TJ Pecoraro. Jared Allen went 3-for-4 with a triple and two RBI in the contest. Middle Tennessee is looking for its first win at Vanderbilt, since downing the Commodores 6-4 in Nashville on May 5, 2005.

Tuesday's contest will air locally on WMOT 89.5 FM with Dick Palmer and John Callow calling the action. Fans can also watch the game online at VUCommodores.com.

NOTES (For full version, view PDF):

Miller a Pillar in Blue Raider lineup

Senior 1B Trent Miller has started all 36 games so far this year for the Blue Raiders, making 33 starts at first base and three in right field. Miller has hit third in all 36 games, leading the Blue Raiders in average (.371), slugging (.566), RBI (27), and a Conference-USA best 17 doubles. Miller leads C-USA with 81 total bases and is second with 53 hits this season.

Curtis Collecting Ks in Conference USA

Senior LHP Zac Curtis matched a career-high for the third time this year with 11 strikeouts against Mississippi Valley State on Friday. 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 81 on the season both lead Conference USA. His 81 K's rank fourth nationally, while his strikeouts per game total is 12th in the NCAA.

Miller Inking His Name in the Record Books

Senior Trent Miller ranks seventh with 854 career putouts. He is one RBI shy of moving into 10th with Jeff Beachum. Miller's 362 total bases is eight behind Clay Snellgrove. The Kansas City native is three doubles away from reaching third held by Blake McDade (62).

LaRue Racking Up the Walks

3B Hank LaRue has garnered 90 free passes during his tenure at Middle Tennessee. The senior is six shy from reaching 10th held by Phillip Edwards.

Raining on Your Ranking

Middle Tennessee has played five games against teams ranked in the top-10 of the Baseball America poll at Reese Smith, Jr. Field since the beginning of the 2013 season, going 3-2 in those games. The Blue Raiders knocked off No. 2 Vanderbilt on March 20, 2013, before taking two of three from No. 10 Rice this weekend.

Two Bases Are Better Than One

Senior 1B Trent Miller's pair of doubles against Mississippi Valley State on April 13, moved him into sole possession for fourth all-time with 59. The Kansas City native is just six doubles shy of Nathan Hines' program record.

Up Next: East Carolina

Middle Tennessee seeks its first C-USA road series when the Raiders visit East Carolina (21-15) this weekend. The Pirates open a stretch of five games in five days at UNC Wilmington on Tuesday. ECU avoided a sweep from Old Dominion with a with a 12-inning 12-7 win over the Monarchs on Sunday.

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