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Blue Raiders drop series opener to UTSA, 4-2

Curtis records career-high 12 strikeouts

May 2, 2014 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee's late-inning push wasn't enough, as the Blue Raiders dropped a 4-2 contest to UTSA on Friday evening at Reese Smith Jr. Field.

UTSA (29-18, 13-9 Conference USA) capitalized on some early Blue Raider miscues to pick up the series-opening win. Middle Tennessee (23-23, 11-11 C-USA) bounced back with two runs in the seventh, but were unable to bring home the equalizing run.

The Roadrunners finished with four runs on five hits, while MT completed Friday's game with two runs on seven hits and two errors.

Left-hander Zac Curtis (6-3) set a career-high with 12 strikeouts, his seventh double-digit punchout performance of the year. The Blue Raider ace now has 110 Ks this season, which is second in the NCAA and fifth all-time for a single-season at Middle Tennessee. The Hendersonville native allowed four runs, one earned, on five hits in 124 pitches.

Senior Ryan Stephens was the only Raider with multiple hits, going 2-for-4 from the plate with a run scored. Stephens moved to sixth all-time with his ninth career triple in the seventh. He started his 171st consecutive game climbing to second in the school record books.

Leadoff hitter Dustin Delgado reached on with a RBI single and walk, while second baseman Austin Bryant tallied the Raiders second run.

The Roadrunners gained their first run in unconventional fashion when John Bormann was awarded home plate after a called balk in the top of the second. In the fourth, Bormann blasted his fourth roundtripper of the year to give the Roadrunners a two-run lead.

UTSA stretched its lead to four when a fielding error and a two-out single allowed two more runs. 

Stephens led off the seventh with a triple. He would later score off an Adkins groundout to cut MT's deficit to three. Delgado laced a two-out single to right field scoring Bryant to make it a 4-2 contest. The MT threat ended when Jake Ellison was tagged out at third.

Brock Hartson (5-2) earned his fifth win of the year with two earned runs given up on five hits in 6.2 innings tossed. Logan Onda grabbed his seventh save, holding the Raiders scoreless in the final two and a third innings. Bormann went 1-for-4 with two runs and a RBI.

Middle Tennessee looks to split the series on Saturday during the annual Bark in the Park Day. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. at Reese Smith Jr. Field. RHP Paul Mittura (3-2, 3.15 ERA) takes on UTSA's left-hander Nolan Trabanino (7-2, 2.44 ERA).

NOTES:

CF Ryan Stephens made his 171st consecutive start, moving into sole possession of second all-time in consecutive games played at Middle Tennessee ... Ryan Stephens recorded his ninth triple of this career in the seventh inning, moving him to sixth all-time in school history ... Zac Curtis inked his seventh double-figure strikeout performance of the year, setting a career-high 12 punchouts ... Curtis' 110 K's is second nationally and fifth all-time at MT ... The Friday night home loss is the first for MT since falling to Kent State 5-4 on March 1.

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