MT and Roadrunners clash this weekend
Blue Raiders in hunt for C-USA Championship berthMay 1, 2014 · @MTAthletics
UTSA (28-18, 12-9 C-USA) at Middle Tennessee (23-22, 11-10 C-USA)
Reese Smith Jr. Field (2,100) - Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Friday, May 2 - 6 p.m. (TGIF Fridays)
LHP Zac Curtis (6-2, 2.08 ERA) vs. RHP Brock Hartson (4-2, 2.15 ERA)
Saturday, May 3 - 4 p.m. (Bark in the Park)
RHP Paul Mittura (3-2, 3.15 ERA) vs. LHP Nolan Trabanino (7-2, 2.44 ERA)
Sunday, May 4 - Noon (Murfreesboro Little League Day)
LHP Johnathan Frebis (3-4, 4.47 ERA) vs. RHP Justin Anderson (3-4, 3.30 ERA)
With nine Conference USA games remaining, Middle Tennessee remains in the hunt for a berth in the C-USA Championship. The Raiders (23-22, 11-10 C-USA) host UTSA (28-18, 12-9) in a critical weekend series.
Friday's contest is set for a 6 p.m. first pitch. Saturday, which is Bark in the Park day, starts at 4 p.m. The weekend series wraps up on Sunday with a Noon start, which is Murfreesboro Little League Day.
MT holds a 14-3 mark at Reese Smith Jr. Field since March 14. The Raiders have won each of their home C-USA series with victories over Charlotte, No. 10 Rice and Old Dominion.
Left-hander Zac Curtis (6-2, 2.08 ERA) makes his 12th start on Friday. The senior has produced the nation's second-best strikeout total with 98 in 82.1 innings tossed. Curtis faces off against UTSA ace Brock Hartson, who boasts a 2.15 ERA and 4-2 record.
RHP Paul Mittura (3-2, 3.15 ERA) takes the mound Saturday against Roadrunner lefty Nolan Trabaninio (7-2, 2.44 ERA). Sunday's finale features MT junior Johnathan Frebis (3-4, 4.47 ERA) versus RHP Justin Anderson (3-4, 3.30 ERA).
Senior Trent Miller carries the Blue Raider offense with a team-best .343 batting average and .545 slugging percentage. Miller is fourth nationally with 19 doubles this season. Meanwhile, Jared Allen's eight home runs lead Conference USA. Senior Ryan Stephens made his 170th consecutive start versus Austin Peay on Wednesday, moving to second on the all-time chart. The Murfreesboro native is four away from tying the all-time record held by Philip Edwards.
The Roadrunners have lost six out of their last eight games. UTSA dropped two-of-three to Charlotte last weekend. Mike Warren leads the UTSA offense with a .339 average and 38 RBI. Preseason All-Conference honoree R.J. Perucki holds a 3.28 average with 12 extra-base hits in 46 contests.
Dick Palmer and John Callow will call this weekend's action live on WMOT 89.5 FM. Fans can also watch a live webcast of the games on GoBlueRaiders.com.
NOTES (For full version, view PDF):
Miller a Pillar in Blue Raider lineup
Senior 1B Trent Miller has started all 45 games so far this year for the Blue Raiders, making 39 starts at first base and six in right field. Miller has hit third in all 45 games, leading the Blue Raiders in average (.343), slugging (.545), RBI (35), and a Conference-USA best 19 doubles. Miller leads C-USA with 97 total bases and is second in the league with 61 hits.
Curtis Collecting Ks in Conference USA
Senior LHP Zac Curtis threw his fourth complete game of the year, with a complete game three-shutout against Old Dominion last Friday. Curtis has recorded a 0.95 ERA over seven Conference USA starts, striking out 65 batters against 11 walks. His 98 punchouts is second nationally behind Cal Poly's Matt Imhoff, while his strikeouts per game total (10.27) is 12th in the NCAA.
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 12.1 innings pitched. This season, Tollison holds a stingy 0.93 ERA with 18 strikeouts in 19.1 innings of relief.
The Roadrunners (28-18, 12-9 C-USA) have lost six out of their last eight contests entering the weekend. UTSA, who won the Southland in 2013, split its midweek series with Lamar and lost two-of-three to Charlotte last week. There are three Roadrunners hitting over .300. Mike Warren has a team-best .339 average and 38 RBI. Preseason All-Conference infielder R.J. Perucki is hitting .328 in 46 contests, while John Welborn has a .303 average. Friday starter Brock Hartson (4-2) has a team-leading 2.15 ERA with 64 strikeouts. Logan Onda and Matt Sims have shared the closing duties with 11 combined saves.
Setting the Table
Junior SS Dustin Delgado has reached base in 40 of 45 games to begin 2014, while serving as the leadoff hitter and shortstop in all of them. The junior leads MT with a .386 on-base percentage and is third on the squad with a .290 batting average.
Shut the Door
Earlier in the year, Middle Tennessee was on the opposite end of the shutout spectrum. MT lost its first six shutouts before picking up 4-0 win at Belmont on April 8. The Raiders did fall 1-0 at East Carolina, but have since won 1-0 over Old Dominion and defeated Austin Peay 5-0. Six Blue Raider pitchers combined for 12 strikeouts in the shutout victory over the Governors on April 30.
Up Next: FIU
FIU (31-12, 11-10 C-USA) picked up a four-game sweep over St. Peter's last weekend. The Panthers return to league play this weekend with a three-game series at East Carolina. FIU enters the weekend tied for seventh with Middle Tennessee.
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