MURFREESBORO – All hope seemed lost for Middle Tennessee Sunday, but a six-run ninth inning capped off by a Jake Ingold walk-off grand slam powered them to a 9-8 win over Iowa in the series finale.
It appeared as if the Blue Raiders (8-4) were headed for a sweep Sunday at Reese Smith Jr. Field. They were down 8-3 heading into the bottom of the ninth.
MTSU loaded the bases in the inning after a couple of walks and an error. Outfielder Jared Allen drew a walk that plated first baseman Kevin Dupree.
Catcher Michael Adkins then came to the plate and knocked a single to center that scored outfielder Brad Jarreau. This trimmed the Hawkeyes’ lead to 8-5 and set the stage for Ingold.
Ingold stepped in the box with two outs and the bases still loaded. Iowa brought in Brandon Shulista to face the senior infielder.
Ingold got the better of the matchup. He blasted a pitch to deep left field, completing the six-run comeback victory for MTSU.
It marked the first walk-off homer for the program since Ethan Williams accomplished the same feat back in 2012 against Arkansas State. It was the first grand slam for the program since Johnny Thomas blasted a four-run bagger in 2012 against Louisiana Tech.
Junior starter Sam Alton barely made it through two innings Sunday. He gave up seven runs in his brief appearance, leading to an early 7-0 Hawkeye lead. Alton received a no decision when the Blue Raiders made came back to pick up the victory.
Junior reliever Garrett Ring kept MTSU in it though, throwing five innings of shutout baseball.
The Blue Raiders finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth inning, plating three to cut the Iowa lead to four, 7-3. Jarreau drove in Dupree on an RBI groundout. Then, Allen smacked a two-run homer to right field to score himself and Ronnie Jebavy. It was Allen’s second home run of the season.
The rest of the scoring was left for the ninth. Iowa tacked on a run in the top of the inning to push their lead to 8-3. MTSU scored six in the bottom of the inning for a thrilling comeback victory.
There were five Blue Raiders that recorded multi-hit games Sunday. Jebavy (2-for-5; 3B), Adkins (2-for-5; RBI), Ingold (2-for-4; HR, 4 RBI, BB), Allen (2-for-4; HR, 3 RBI, BB) and senior infielder Austin Bryant (2-for-5) all tallied two hits for MTSU.
Although he did not record a hit in the game, senior infielder Dustin Delgado extended his reached-bases streak to 27 games with a ninth-inning walk.
Senior pitcher Nathan Foriest (1-0) earned the win for MTSU, pitching the last two innings of the game, allowing one run on two hits.
Shulista (0-1) was pinned with the loss when he gave up the walk-off grand slam to Ingold. He was one of six pitchers that Iowa (9-2) used in the game.
Middle Tennessee will next face in-state rival Memphis for a quick two-game series. The first game is scheduled for Tuesday in Memphis. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CST.
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