By Steven Johnson//Contributing Writer
MURFREESBORO – Middle Tennessee might want to play the rest of its games on the weekend after the 11-0 pummeling it received from the Austin Peay Governors Tuesday night at Reese Smith Jr. Field.
The Blue Raiders (16-11) are now 0-6 in their midweek games this season.
The score was never close Tuesday as the Governors (15-10) got most of their work done early, scoring their first six runs in the first three innings. The Govs put their bats to use throughout the entire game and Head Coach Jim McGuire found himself coming out to the mound frequently to coach up his struggling pitching staff.
On the night, McGuire went through six pitchers in an attempt to halt the offensive onslaught from Austin Peay. McGuire stated the short leash was part of the game plan and was used to counteract the midweek struggles.
“We made up our minds that if we were going to keep going from pitcher to pitcher, we had to keep the game close,” said McGuire.
However, his moves seemed to be futile as the bullpen and defensive fielders both seemed out of sync the entire night for the Blue Raiders. Wild pitches and unforced mental errors by the infield plagued the Blue Raiders for the entire game, as the Governors consistently were able to get hits off of any pitcher McGuire turned too.
Starter Tyler Troutt got the start for MTSU. He walked two runners and gave up two runs in the first inning. After two-consecutive singles at the top of the second, Troutt was pulled for Sam Alton, who subsequently allowed three runs of his own.
The uneven defensive play and bullpen production, compiled with MTSU’s offensive struggles, were the recipe for a loss.
The Govs out-hit the Blue Raiders 18-4 and frequently showed more energy than MTSU. The Govs stole bases, made impressive defensive plays on the infield and even relied on sacrifice bunts to consistently generate offense.
Jared Carkuff got the win for Austin Peay and pushed his record to 4-3. Troutt dropped to 0-2 on the season for the Blue Raiders.
Dre Gleason (2-for-4, RBI) and Patrick Massoni (3-for-5, 3 RBI) led the way for the impressive offensive output for the Govs. Logan Gray (2-for-5, 2 RBI) also came up big and knocked in two runs as well. The three combined to knock in six of the Govs’ nine runs.
Ronnie Jebavy (1-for-3) pushed his hit streak to nine games and led the team in hits along with Michael Adkins (1-for-3), Will Schnure (1-for-1) and Austin Norell (1-for-3). Those were the only four hits MTSU produced in the game.
MTSU will return to action this weekend with a huge showdown against No. 14 Rice, who currently sits in second place in the Conference USA standings behind the Blue Raiders.
MTSU’s performance tonight left a lot to be desired, but Coach McGuire was still optimistic.
“I should be worried about how we played in the middle of the week, but we’ve played like this before every conference series. I feel like we’ll regroup, but we have to do what we did last week (against ODU),” said McGuire, speaking on the upcoming matchup with Rice.
The Owls will look to overtake the Blue Raiders in the C-USA standings. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CST on Friday in Houston.
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