By Rickey Fuquay, Jr.//Contributing Wrtier
MURFREESBORO – Middle Tennessee (9-6, 1-0 C-USA) put on a clinic on offense and powered its way to an 8-0 win over Alabama-Birmingham Saturday in its Conference USA opener.
Junior center fielder Ronnie Jebavy led the way on offense, going 3-for-3 a career-high, with two RBI and two walks. The three hits extended his hitting streak to 12 games. Sophomore right fielder Brad Jarreau went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Freshman first baseman Kevin Dupree put together a 2-for-4 effort as well.. Sophomore designated hitter Kaleb King went 1-for-4 on the day, recording an RBI on his first career home run. Senior left fielder Jared Allen went 1-for-5 with three RBI.
Senior catcher Michael Adkins also went 1-for-5 on the day. Senior shortstop Dustin Delgado extended his reached-bases streak to 30 games Saturday with a 1-for-4 effort and a walk. The last Blue Raider to reach in 30-straight games was Blake McDade in 2010. His streak was 31 games.
The Blue Raiders struck first with a RBI single by Jebavy in the bottom of the first and never looked back. MTSU added three runs in the home half of the fourth inning to take a 4-0 advantage.
After a solo home run to left field by King in the sixth, MTSU took a 5-0 lead.
A bases-loaded pop-up by Allen in the eighth found a hole in left field, plating three more runs and giving the Blue Raiders the decisive 8-0 win.
Senior pitcher Johnathan Frebis improved to 3-1 this season, throwing seven innings of four-hit shutout baseball. The senior left-hander struck out a career-high eight batters in the game. His earned run average is now an impressive 2.97 through his first five starts of the season.
Freshman pitcher Blake Stansberry pitched the eighth and ninth for the Blue Raiders, not allowing a run for his fifth-straight appearance. He has thrown shutout baseball for ten and two-thirds consecutive innings.
James Naile fell to 3-2 on the year for the Blazers (10-5, 0-1 C-USA). He allowed five runs on nine hits in seven innings. Adam Lamar came in from the bullpen and allowed three runs on two hits in one inning of work.
It was a great game offensively as the Blue Raiders outhit the Blazers 11-5. MTSU had averaged only 6.8 hits per game in its last five. They also had been held to two runs or fewer in five of their last six games.
The Blazers did themselves no favors, committing a season-high five errors. The Blue Raiders only committed two.
Because of the weather, the two teams will meet in a doubleheader on Sunday with the first game starting at 1 p.m. CST. The teams were scheduled to play a doubleheader Saturday, but the rain made that impossible. Due to conference rules, both games on Sunday will be only seven innings.
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