By Connor Grott
Assistant Sports Editor
Middle Tennessee (15-17, 8-7 C-USA) managed to hold Belmont (13-19, 5-7 OVC) to seven hits and no runs behind the pitching of junior Kooper Kessler and seniors Jonathan Sisco and Cody Tollison, with the Blue Raiders picking up a 4-0 victory and their first shutout of the season over the Belmont Bruins.
The Blue Raiders returned to Reese Smith, Jr. Field following a three-game road trip against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. The Bruins came into Tuesday’s matchup on a six-game winning streak dating back to March 29.
Middle Tennessee’s offense got out to a quick start in the contest, with the Blue Raiders’ four runs coming in the first three innings. Junior outfielder Jared Allen delivered most of the offense on Tuesday, hitting a two-run homer, and adding an RBI on a fielder’s choice.
Allen got the Blue Raiders going early, hitting a two-run homerun in the first inning to give MT a 2-0 advantage. In the second inning, junior Michael Adkins would score on a wild pitch to give the Blue Raiders a 3-0 lead.
In the third, senior third baseman Hank LaRue would single to lead off the inning. LaRue would get to third base following a Trent Miller single. Allen would ground into a fielder’s choice, scoring LaRue for the fourth and final run of the game.
The Blue Raiders’ Kooper Kessler picked up his second win of the season, moving to 2-0 on the year. Belmont’s Chase Cunningham allowed all four runs, picking up his fourth loss of the season.
Kessler pitched four scoreless innings for the Blue Raiders, with Jonathan Sisco relieving him for the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. Cody Tollison would pitch the final two innings, giving up just one hit to close out the game.
Middle Tennessee will take on Tennessee Tech Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Cookeville. Blue Raider freshman Caleb Smith will take the mound, marking his first career start for the Blue Raiders.
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