By Nick Griesbach//Contributing Writer
MURFREESBORO – Middle Tennessee started off strong, but was not able to withstand the scoring onslaught from Tennessee Tech at Reese Smith Jr. Field on Tuesday as it suffered another midweek loss.
The Blue Raiders (17-14) started the game off with a great effort on the mound from starting pitcher Tyler Troutt, who was pulled after pitching 6.1 innings of one-run, three-hit baseball, striking out a career-high eight batters
“As far as pitch count wise, he was in an area where he hasn’t been at this point in the season, where he’s getting around 100 pitches, and the most he has thrown is five innings, and that was about 75 or 80 then, so he was getting close to 100,” said Head Coach Jim McGuire on pulling Trout in the seventh. “I thought we needed to be careful with him, so we could still possibly use him on the weekend.”
In the third inning, the Blue Raiders were able to get the game’s first run as second baseman Dustin Delgado was able to drive in catcher Will Schnure on a double.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Schnure came around to score on a Brad Jarreau single to right field, putting MTSU up, 2-0. It appeared as if the Blue Raiders were cruising to a victory.
However, Tennessee Tech (13-18) was able to take advantage of the MTSU bullpen in the top of the seventh, which saw the Blue Raiders use three relievers in the inning, for six runs.
After recording an out in the seventh, Troutt was replaced by the struggling Heath Slatton (1-6). Slatton failed to record an out, allowing four runs on three hits. His earned run average is now a whopping 9.11 this season.
Kooper Kessler then came in and gave up one run on one hit in 0.1 innings. Will Small replaced Kessler, and finished off the inning. He threw the next 2.1 innings, allowing no runs on two hits.
The Blue Raiders were not going to go down without a fight as they fought back to be one run down going into the ninth inning.
“The best part about the night was that everybody in the dugout stayed with it, everybody was upset with what happened,” said McGuire. “They kept after it, they kept after it with their teammates trying to get it going.”
The fireworks really went off when Jared Allen, who went 3-for-4 at the plate Tuesday, hit a two-run homer – his eighth of the season – to get the Blue Raiders to within one run, 6-5. This was still not enough as they were shut down in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Jeb Scoggins (1-0) picked up the win for TTU in relief. Cain Sloan recorded his second save of the season, shutting down MTSU in the last 1.1 innings of the game.
MTSU is now 0-7 in midweek games this season.
The Blue Raiders will hit the field again Wednesday when they travel to Clarksville to face Austin Peay. The game will begin at 6 p.m. CST.
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