Blue Raider Baseball Sweeps Doubleheader Home Opener


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Middle Tennessee’s baseball team (4-1) swept a doubleheader with Western Illinois (0-2) on Sunday in the team’s 2015 home opener.

Inclement weather caused the Blue Raiders’ home opener to be pushed back multiple times this past week, but they finally took the field at Reese Smith Jr. Field on Sunday.

The first game of the day saw MTSU blow an 8-0 lead, however, they would hold on to win the game, 16-14.

Both teams combined for 30 runs and 27 hits in the matchup. The Blue Raiders also platted a run every inning in the game.

After three innings, it seemed like an easy win for MTSU, as they took an 8-0 lead. They extended their lead after four innings, 11-2.

The Leatherneck’s bats started doing damage in the fifth though. They scored five runs in the inning, cutting the deficit to five, 12-7, after the Blue Raiders picked up a run in the bottom half of the inning.

The game came down to the final two innings. WIU pulled to within one run, 15-14, in the top of the eighth. But, sophomore Kaleb King gave MTSU some insurance when he drove in junior Ronnie Jebavy with an RBI single in the bottom of the inning.

Senior Nathan Foriest blanked the Leathernecks in the ninth to pick up his second-consecutive save, and the win for the Blue Raiders.

Senior Johnathan Frebis (2-0) earned the victory despite giving up six earned runs on 10 hits. Sophomore Kevin Dupree was the main run-provider for MTSU, picking up a career-high four RBI in the game.

Senior Jared Allen hit his first homer of the season in this game, and he platted two runs for the Blue Raiders. King had a career-high three hits to go along with an RBI.

WIU’s Tom Constand (0-1) was pulled after three innings of erratic play, allowing six earned runs on five hits and four walks, picking up the loss for the Leathernecks.

The win allowed the Blue Raiders to go for sweep of the doubleheader in the next one.

It was a lower-scoring affair than its predecessor, but MTSU managed to hold on for the close win, 5-4.

The game was scoreless until the third inning when the Leathernecks got on the board with two runs in the top of the inning. Senior Austin Bryant hit an RBI double in the inning, pushing his hitting streak to 10 games.

Senior Kooper Kessler avoided some big-time trouble in the fourth inning, getting out of a bases-loaded jam with a strikeout.

This would end the senior’s day, as he struck out seven batters over four innings, coming up one strikeout short of the career-high he set in his last outing. He failed to get the win in the game since he did not go at least five innings.

The Blue Raiders extended their lead to three, 5-2, in the bottom of the fourth on a Michael Adkins’ two-run double. The senior tallied his team-leading 13th and 14th RBI of the season on this hit.

The Leathernecks did not go down easily though. They platted two runs in the seventh to close the gap to one, 5-4. Freshman Blake Stansberry and junior Sam Alton stopped WIU from scoring any more runs.

Stansberry (1-0) earned his first career win, pitching three innings of one-hit relief. Alton nailed down his first save as a Blue Raider.

MTSU will look to complete the series sweep of WIU on Monday. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. CST at Reese Smith Jr. Field.

For more Blue Raider sports, follow us at www.mtsusidelines.com, on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter at @Sidelines_Sport.

To contact sports editor Connor Grott, email sports@mtsusidelines.com or follow him on Twitter at @Connor_Grott.

 

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