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Raiders outslug Old Dominion, 11-8

Miller tallies four RBI in offensive outburst

April 26, 2014 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Senior Trent Miller had a four-RBI day with a pair of extra base hits, as a pair of key double plays doused a furious comeback attempt in the Middle Tennessee baseball team's 11-8 victory over Old Dominion Saturday at Reese Smith, Jr. Field. In the win, the Blue Raiders improve to 22-21 and 11-9 in Conference USA, while the Monarchs fall to 25-18 and 12-11 in C-USA.

The Raiders set the tone offensively to begin the contest, as the first three MT batters of the game - junior Dustin Delgado, senior Hank LaRue and Miller - notched hits to open the frame, with Miller's single giving the Blue Raiders a 1-0 lead. Miller would then come home to score on a ground ball hit by senior Ryan Stephens that was thrown into the dirt by the ODU shortstop for a 2-0 lead.

A two-run double by Miller in the second plated Delgado and LaRue for a 4-0 advantage, with Old Dominion getting on the board in the fourth to make it 4-1.

The Blue Raiders would seemingly blow it open in the bottom of the fourth, first extending the lead on a Delgado single that was misplayed by the Monarch left fielder, allowing junior Austin Bryant to score and extend the lead to 5-1. LaRue followed with a sac fly and Miller added a solo homer to make it 7-1 before Stephens crushed a two-run shot of his own to right-center for a 9-1 lead.

Old Dominion would storm back with the next seven runs of the game, starting with a four-run fifth. A two-run single cut it to 9-3 before a hit batsman and a walk - both with the bases loaded - brought the Monarchs to within 9-5. Senior left-hander Cody Tollison would get a strikeout to escape further damage in the fifth.

The Monarchs made things even more interesting in the eighth, with the first three reaching before a single through the right side brought ODU to a 9-6 deficit. With the bases still loaded, junior catcher Michael Adkins threw a perfect strike behind the runner leaning off first for a desperately-needed first out of the frame.

Two more runs would score - one on a single and another on an error - to make it 9-8 before sophomore right-hander Garrett Ring induced a ground ball to second, fielded by Bryant, who tagged the runner and threw on to first to get the Blue Raiders out of the jam with a one-run lead.

MT would tally two insurance runs in the bottom of the inning, the first when junior Jared Allen was brought home on a single by Adkins for a 10-8 lead. Adkins would move up to second on his first career stolen base, getting into scoring position for a double scalded to the left-field wall by senior Jake Ellison to extend the cushion to 11-8.

ODU would put the first two on in the ninth before junior right-hander Kooper Kessler was called upon for the save. On the first pitch, Kessler got a ground ball to third, with LaRue stepping on the bag and firing across for the double play. Kessler would then get another ground out, this one to Bryant at second, for the game's final out and Kessler's first save of the season.

Tollison moved to 3-0 on the year with 1 2/3 scoreless, hitless innings, lowering his ERA to 0.98. ODU's Ryan Yarbrough was hit with the loss, giving up nine runs - eight earned - on 12 hits over 3 2/3. Senior Paul Mittura came one out shy of qualifying for the victory, giving up five runs - three unearned - in 4 2/3. Mittura held the Monarchs hitless through the first three innings of the game.

Delgado reached base in all five of his plate appearances, while Tollison tossed his seventh-straight scoreless outing and 13th without an earned run allowed in 15 appearances.

The Blue Raiders and Monarchs will close out the weekend series Sunday in a game now scheduled for a noon first pitch at Reese Smith, Jr. Field.

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