SMS Knocks Off Blue Raiders 14-11March 15, 2002 · MT Media Relations
The Southwest Missouri hitters erupted for seven long balls while the Blue Raiders connected for two as the visitors upended Middle Tennessee 14-11. The loss drops MT to 10-5 on the year while SMS improves to 8-2.
Things looked up for the Blue Raiders in the early going. The team jumped out to a 3-0 lead behind a Marshall Nisbett homer. The Bears got a run in the top of the second behind a solo shot from Jeremy Isenhower, but the Blue Raiders answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the third.
The floodgates opened on the Blue Raiders in the top of the fourth. The Bears smashed two home runs in the frame, chasing MT starter Chase Swing from the contest. When the dust had settled in the inning, SMS had plated seven runs to take an 8-4 lead.
The Blue Raiders weren't finished just yet.
After a scoreless fifth, SMS got a run in the top of the sixth when Donnie Watchowski hit a solo shot over the left field wall.
However, the Blue Raiders continued to put pressure on the Bears in the bottom half of the inning. A Howarth single, an Akers walk, coupled with Nate Jaggers being hit by a pitch loaded the bases for Justin Sims.
Sims delivered a single to right to bring one run across, sending SMS starter Matt Palmer to the showers. A sacrifice fly from Nisbett off of reliever Brian Keating got the team its second run of the inning and closed the gap to 9-7.
SMS answered with three runs in the top of the seventh inning behind two more homers.
The Blue Raiders got off the deck in the bottom of the eighth inning, dealing All-American reliever Bob Zimmerman a four run blow that was capped by Seth Yarbrough's three-run bomb over the right field wall. The earned runs were the first allowed by the SMS ace this season.
Bad defense cost the Blue Raiders two runs in the top of the ninth and the home team could not muster any runs in the bottom of the final frame, ending the game with a victory for the visitors. The win extended the current Bear winning streak to six games while the Blue Raiders two-game win streak was snapped.
Palmer (2-0) picked up the win for SMS while Swing (0-1) was saddled with the loss.
Offensively, Marshall Nisbett paced the Blue Raiders with a 4-for-5 effort that included five RBIs. Chuck Akers went 4-for-5 and Justin Sims went 3-for-4. Both players also drove in a run. Jason Howarth broke out of a recent slump to go 3-for-4 in the contest. Dant'e Brinkley led the Bears with a 4-for-5 day at the plate.
The teams will lock up again on Saturday afternoon at 2 PM in the second of a three-game series. The game will be broadcast locally on WMTS FM 88.3 and can also be heard via the internet at GoBlueRaiders.com.
NOTES: SMS came into the game with only six homers on the season and hit seven in one game against MT - The start was the first for freshman Chase Swing - Justin Sims is 10-for-14 over the last three games - Chuck Akers is 12-for-20 over the past five games - Chris Kurtz put in his first career pitching appearance in the game - After eight steals against Memphis on Wednesday, the Blue Raiders did not steal a base in the game.
Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.
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