MURFREESBORO – Middle Tennessee continued its flare for the dramatics Saturday.
After beating rival Western Kentucky in their final at-bat Friday night, the Blue Raiders (27-20, 17-6 C-USA) did it again Saturday, as Austin Bryant came up clutch with an walk-off single to win the game, 5-4.
It was MTSU’s eight win in its final at-bat this season, and the second in as many days.
The narrative was similar to Friday’s game. WKU (23-22, 9-14 C-USA) jumped out to a 3-0 lead after five innings. Two home runs did the early damaged for the Hilltoppers, as Anderson Miller blasted a two-run shot to right center in the third, and Paul Murray knocked one over left field wall. These two homers accounted for two of WKU’s five hits.
Bryant put MTSU on the board in the sixth with an RBI single that plated Jared Allen. A pair of RBI doubles in the seventh by Brad Jarreau and Dustin Delgado tied the game at three apiece.
WKU retook the lead in the ninth off a sacrifice fly by Cody Wofford that scored Grant Malott. This set the scene for the dramatics of the bottom of the inning.
Jarreau started the inning off with a single to left. He advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Delgado. After Ronnie Jebavy fouled out, MTSU was down to its last out.
However, the Blue Raiders refused to quit. Allen drove Jarreau in with an RBI single to right field, tying the game again at four. The tie wasn’t good enough the Blue Raiders.
Allen moved into scoring position by stealing second. Following a Jake Ingold walk, Bryant came up to the plate. With the Blue Raiders down to their final strike, Bryant singled to right field, scoring Allen to give MTSU the 5-4 win.
The win secured the Blue Raiders with the series victory over the Hilltoppers, earning them their sixth series win in eight tries in conference play. It also kept MTSU in first place in the league standings.
Four Blue Raiders notched multi-hit efforts Saturday, accounting for nine of the team’s 12 hits. Ingold (3-for-4), Bryant (2-for-4, 2 RBI), Delgado (2-for-4, RBI) and Jarreau (2-for-5, RBI) all had at least two hits.
Reliever Blake Stansberry (4-1) earned the victory for MTSU. The freshman right-hander pitched a perfect inning of relief after replacing Sam Alton in the ninth.
Starter Nate Hoffmann produced a sold effort for the Blue Raiders. He pitched five innings, giving up just three runs on three hits. He struck out five WKU batters, but he earned a no-decision.
MTSU will go for the sweep on Sunday. It would be the Blue Raiders fourth sweep of league play this season. The game is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. CST.
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