JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Blue Raiders attempted to start their season with a three-game sweep over Jacksonville, but fell short against the Dolphins in an 11-2 loss.
“I’m happy with what we did over the past two days, but we wasted an opportunity to come out today and play well,” MTSU coach Jim McGuire said in a statement to the MTSU Athletic Communications department. “We’re happy we won two-out-of-three, but not satisfied knowing we could have done a lot more.”
Middle Tennessee sent out junior right-hander Heath Slatton (0-1) for his season debut. It was a short start for Slatton, pitching only 1.2 innings before being chased after a seven run, seven hit second inning.
The Blue Raiders (2-1) looked to rally back in the top of the third inning after a two-run RBI from senior Michael Adkins.
Adkins tallied ten RBI in the series, which was the best for a Middle Tennessee batter since Bryce Brentz drove in nine runs in 2010 against New Orleans.
MTSU senior shortstop Dustin Delgado led off the game with a double for the second straight game, finishing with two hits. Senior second baseman Austin Bryant doubled in the third, extending his hit streak to eight games.
The Blue Raiders went to the depth of their bullpen for the first time this season. MTSU brought in four separate pitchers: juniors Sam Alton and Tyler Troutt, senior Keaton Baker and freshman Blake Stansberry.
The four proved to do a serviceable job, giving up a combined three runs after Slatton’s poor start. This was especially significant, due to it being Blue Raider debuts for Alton, Troutt and Stansberry.
Sophomore Kevin Dupree also made his debut in a Blue Raider uniform, starting at first base in the third inning.
Unfortunately, those were the only silver linings in what proved to be an all-around dominant game from Jacksonville (1-2).
The Blue Raiders were ultimately outscored 11-2 on the scoreboard, and were out-hit 15-6 in the game.
Jacksonville starter Michael Baumann (1-0) silenced Middle Tennessee’s bats for most of the game, going five innings with six strikeouts and two earned runs.
Middle Tennessee will look to put this game behind them, as they open up their home schedule Tuesday at 3 p.m. CST against Lipscomb.
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