By Rickey Fuquay, Jr.//Contributing Writer
MEMPHIS – Middle Tennessee’s offense has fallen on hard times as of late, and it got no better Wednesday, as they were shutout 11-0 by in-state rival Memphis at FedEx Park.
Senior Shortstop Dustin Delgado, sophomore right fielder Brad Jarreau and junior center fielder Ronnie Jebavy were the only Blue Raiders to record a hit in the game. Jarreau and Jebavy both went 1-for-4 on the day, while Delgado went 1-for-2 on the afternoon, extending his reached-bases streak to 29 games.
The Tigers (6-4) struck first with an RBI single by Jake Overbey to take a 1-0 advantage in the bottom of the third. The Tigers added to their lead in the fourth and seventh inning, plating five runs in both innings to produce the 11-0 Memphis win, taking both games in the quick two-game series with the Blue Raiders.
In his season debut, junior pitcher Tyler Troutt (0-1) fell to 0-1 on the year despite having an efficient outing on the day, allowing one run on four hits in three innings of work.
The bullpen was pretty busy throughout the game. Sophomore pitcher Will Small came to the mound in the fourth inning and gave up five runs on four hits without recording an out.
Junior pitcher Benji Cash came in after Small’s departure and allowed zero runs on one hit in three innings of work while Senior pitcher Keaton Baker had a rough outing, allowing four runs on three hits in one-third of an inning.
Senior pitcher Nathan Foriest replaced Baker and allowed one run on two hits in two-thirds of an inning of work. Sophomore pitcher Caleb Smith finished off the game for MTSU in the eighth, pitching a no-hit inning.
Alex Gunn 1-0) picked up his first win of the year in his season debut for the Tigers, throwing six innings of one-hit baseball, striking out four batters on the day.
The Tigers’ bullpen was just too much for the Blue Raiders to handle down the stretch. Three Tiger pitchers combined for three innings of two-hit baseball, denying any chance of an MTSU comeback.
MTSU’s offense has struggled mightily as of late. They have scored two runs or fewer in five out of their last six games, the only excepting being their six-run come-from-behind win over Iowa on Sunday.
All five of those games have resulted in losses.
The Blue Raiders will look to get their offense back on track when they open up Conference-USA play this weekend at Reese Smith, Jr. Field. MTSU will host Alabama-Birmingham in a three-game series that is slated to begin at 6 p.m. CST on Friday.
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