CLARKSVILLE – Middle Tennessee rallied late in Wednesday’s contest, but it was not enough as it fell 14-12 to Austin Peay.
The Blue Raiders (17-15) found offense early, scoring the first three runs of Wednesday’s game, and led heading to the bottom of the third inning. The Governors (16-13), who struggled against Blue Raider starter Blake Stansberry in the first two innings, found life in the third. Chase Hamilton put Austin Peay on the board, homering down the right field line, and the Governors did not look back.
Austin Peay tied the game in the third, adding another pair of runs after Hamilton’s home run, and looked to capitalize at home. The Governors tacked on three more runs in the fifth, thanks in part to a Blue Raider error, and lead 6-3 heading to the sixth inning.
Garrett Copeland led the Governors on the day, tying Chad Cunningham for the most hits in a game in Austin Peay history with six. Copeland finished the day a perfect 6-for-6, including a homer in the sixth inning, and the Blue Raiders had just nine outs left in the game.
The Blue Raiders exploded in the seventh inning, scoring six runs on five hits, and found themselves ahead again, 9-7. The Governors did not take long to respond, scoring seven runs of their own in the bottom of the seventh, and once again put the Blue Raiders on their heels.
MTSU added another three runs in the eighth in its effort to come from behind once again, but trailed 14-12 heading into the top of the ninth. The Blue Raiders could not muster anything in the ninth, and fell at Austin Peay, 14-12. The loss dropped MTSU’s record to 0-8 in midweek games.
Brad Jarreau had the most impressive day for the Blue Raiders, finishing 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles, scoring three runs.
Both teams had issues finding their stride in the first few innings, but both managed to find a groove, finishing with 14 hits apiece on the afternoon. Both teams also struggled fielding Wednesday, with MTSU having two errors in the game, and Austin Peay finishing with five errors.
Stansberry pitched just two innings for the Blue Raiders, giving up 3 runs, all earned, on five hits, and striking out just two batters. Heath Slatton (1-7) picked up the loss for the Blue Raiders, giving up three runs on two hits in just one-third of an inning Wednesday.
John Sparks (2-0) picked up the win in relief for Austin Peay despite giving up three runs, two earned, on four hits in 1.2 innings.
The Blue Raiders return home for a three-game weekend series with Louisiana Tech at Reese Smith Jr. Field. MTSU will look to build on its Conference USA lead. Game one is Friday at 6 p.m. CST.
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