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MT returns home for weekend series with Monarchs

Raiders and Old Dominion meet for first time since 2000

April 24, 2014 · @MTAthletics

THE MATCHUP

Old Dominion (25-16, 12-9 C-USA) at Middle Tennessee (20-21, 9-9 C-USA)
Reese Smith Jr. Field (2,100) - Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Tickets - Video - Audio - Stats

Friday, April 25 - 6 p.m. (TGIF Fridays)

LHP Zac Curtis (5-2, 2.33 ERA) vs. LHP Andy Roberts (3-1, 2.80 ERA)

Saturday, April 26 - 4 p.m. (Reading Program Day)

RHP Paul Mittura (3-2, 3.08 ERA) vs. LHP Ryan Yarbrough (5-4, 2.69 ERA)

Sunday, April 27 - Noon (Little League Sunday)

LHP Johnathan Frebis (3-4, 4.68 ERA) vs. RHP Victor Diaz (2-2, 2.95 ERA)

THE STORYLINE

Middle Tennessee returns home to the friendly confines of Reese Smith Jr. Field for a weekend series against Old Dominion. The games are set for start times of 6 p.m. on Friday, 4 p.m. on Saturday and Noon on Sunday.

The Blue Raiders (20-21, 9-9 Conference USA) are coming off a 12-7 midweek road victory over Austin Peay. Old Dominion (25-1,6 12-9 C-USA) has won their last five weekend series, including a pair of wins over UTSA last week. The two teams meet for the first time since playing each other in the Clemson Regional on May 27, 2000. The Raiders won that contest 6-5 to remain in the NCAA Tournament.

Left-hander Zac Curtis (5-2, 2.33 ERA) makes his 11th start on Friday against ODU's Andy Roberts (3-1, 2.8-0 ERA). Curtis has struckout a league-best 87, which ranks fourth nationally. He has thrown three complete games this year, most recently at East Carolina last weekend.

On Saturday, RHP Paul Mittura (3-2, 3.08 ERA) aims for his third straight victory when he faces Monarch left-hander Ryan Yarbrough (5-4, 2.69 ERA). The series wraps up on Sunday with MT lefty Johnathan Frebis (3-4, 4.68 ERA) matching up against right-hander Victory Diaz (2-2, 2.95 ERA).

Trent Miller leads the Blue Raider offense with a .350 batting average, 57 hits, 17 doubles, 31 RBI and 88 total bases in 41 contests. Miller ranks in the top-5 in batting average, hits, doubles and total bases. Miller ranks eighth all-time with 141 career RBI.

Catcher Michael Adkins has made a strong push in the lineup, hitting .394 in his last nine games. Adkins has belted two doubles, a triple and a homer during that stretch. Meanwhile, senior Ryan Stephens can continue his climb in the record books with a start on Friday. It will mark his 167th straight appearance, which will tie him for fourth all-time with Rawley Bishop.

ODU is led offensively by infielder P.J. Higgins, who holds a team-best .337 average in 41 games. Josiah Burney leads the Monarchs 20 extra-base hits, while hitting .323 on the season. Preseason All-Conference selection Josh Eldridge is batting .265 with 24 runs-batted-in.

Fans can listen to all of the weekend's action on WMOT 89.5 FM or watch online at GoBlueRaiders.com.

NOTES (For full version, view PDF):

Adkins Amping It Up

Catcher Michael Adkins has stepped up the ante in the past 10 games. The junior leads all Blue Raiders with a .394 hitting average and has notched two doubles, a triple and homer during that span. He has totaled six RBI, drew four walks and thrown out four baserunners during that stretch.

Miller a Pillar in Blue Raider Lineup

Senior 1B Trent Miller has started all 41 games so far this year for the Blue Raiders, making 36 starts at first base and five in right field. Miller has hit third in all 41 games, leading the Blue Raiders in average (.350), slugging (.540), RBI (31), and a Conference-USA best 17 doubles. Miller is second in C-USA with 88 total bases and 57 hits this season.

Curtis Collecting Ks in Conference USA

Senior LHP Zac Curtis threw his third complete game of the year, giving up just an earned run in eight innings at East Carolina. Curtis has recorded a 1.13 ERA over six Conference USA starts, striking out 54 batters against nine walks. His 87 punchouts rank fourth nationally, while his strikeouts per game total is 14th in the NCAA.

Tricky Tollison

Reliever Cody Tollison has made it tough for his opponents to hit in the last few outings. Tollison has not given up a run in the last 9.2 innings pitched. This season, Tollison holds a stingy 1.08 ERA with 14 strikeouts in 16.2 innings of relief.

Miller Inking His Name in the Record Books

Senior Trent Miller ranks seventh with 873 career putouts. He posted a pair of RBI at Austin Peay on April 23 to move into a tie for 8th all-time with Josh Pride. Miller's 369 total bases is 10th all-time at Middle Tennessee. The Kansas City native is three doubles away from reaching third held by Blake McDade (62). Miller started his 100th consecutive game at Austin Peay on Wednesday.

Attaboy Allen

Jared Allen's is tied for the league lead in homers and triples. Allen has belted seven homers, tying him for the C-USA lead with FIU's Aramis Garcia. He hammered two against ECU in game one of a doubleheader on April 18. The junior has notched three triples, which is tied with ODU's Taylor Ostrich. In 41 games, Allen has recorded 78 total bases which sits fourth in Conference USA.

Scouting Old Dominion

The Monarchs (25-16, 12-9 Conference USA) have won six out of their last eight, including three straight wins. ODU came off a series win over UTSA and knocked off East Carolina in a non-conference game on Monday. The Monarchs have won their last five C-USA series and are currently in fifth place in the league standings. ODU has four players hitting over .300 with P.J. Higgins leading the team with .337 batting average. Josiah Burney has a team-leading six homers, while hitting .323 in 39 contests. Ryan Yarbrough leads the Monarch pitching staff with a 2.69 ERA and 5-4 record. This season, ODU holds a .334 earned run average.

Up Next: Tennessee

The Blue Raiders take on Tennessee in the finale of a home-and-home series next Tuesday, April 29 in Knoxville. The Volunteers (25-14, 7-11 SEC) have lost five out of their last seven games, including a 9-7 decision at ETSU on Tuesday. UT takes on LSU in a three-games series in Baton Rouge this weekend.

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