MURFREESBORO – Middle Tennessee took the lead in the bottom of the first and never looked back, earning the three-game sweep after a 19-2 win over Western Illinois Monday night.
“We put it all together today,” MTSU coach Jim McGuire said after the big win. “That was the challenge going in, could we play a complete game all around. We didn’t make any errors defensively today, and we bang out the hits that we did. It was a good team effort, and a good way to finish the series.”
Heath Slatton (1-1) made his fifth career start for MTSU but did not get off on the right foot in the first inning.
Western Illinois (0-3) started Monday’s game scoring the first two runs in the top of the first inning off a two-run homer by Adam McGinnis.
Slatton responded though, going a career-high five innings and not giving up another run in the game.
The Blue Raider offense responded quickly in the bottom half of the inning, scoring five runs off Western Illinois starter Preston Church (0-1).
Church walked Jake Ingold with the bases loaded, leading to the first run for Middle Tennessee. Outfielder Ronnie Jebavy followed it up by doubling to left center to clear the bases and put the Blue Raiders up, 4-2.
A single to right field by designated hitter Kaleb King scored Jabevy to give MTSU a 5-2 advantage after the first inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Blue Raiders exploded for eight runs to bust the game wide open. Two errors by the Leathernecks led to a pair of runs to start, and end, the inning. Multiple singles by the Blue Raiders kept Western Illinois on their heels and extended the lead to 13-2 heading into the sixth inning.
Middle Tennessee (5-1) never let up on Western Illinois, forcing multiple pitching changes throughout the game. The Blue Raiders scored another run in the bottom of the sixth off a Brad Jarraeu single to push their lead to 14-2 at the end of the inning.
The errors by Western Illinois continued to pile up and proved to be crucial. The Leathernecks committed three of their six errors in the bottom of the seventh inning. Those errors led to three runs for the Blue Raiders, who scored five in the inning to eventually win 19-2.
Jarreau led the Blue Raiders offensively, going 4-for-5 on the day with two RBI and a career-high four hits.
Ronnie Jebavy led the team with a career-high four RBI in the game while going 2-of-6.
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