By Rickey Fuquay, Jr.//Contributing Writer
MURFREESBORO – Middle Tennessee (28-20, 18-6 C-USA) used an efficient offensive performance to romp Western Kentucky, 9-2, Sunday afternoon at Reese Smith, Jr. Field.
With the win, the Blue Raiders clinched their fourth C-USA series sweep of the season. MTSU also maintains its first place position in the C-USA standings, holding a one game lead over Rice and FAU.
It ensures the Blue Raiders have at least a five-seed in the C-USA tournament as well.
Sophomore right fielder Brad Jarreau led the way on offense with a 3 for 4 performance, along with one RBI. Also in the multi-hit column was junior center fielder Ronnie Jebavy, who tallied two hits on three at-bats to go with four RBI.
Junior designated hitter Austin Norrell added two hits on four at-bats and senior catcher Michael Adkins recorded two hits on three at-bats.
Senior third baseman Jake Ingold also recorded a hit on three attempts, along with three RBI. Ingold proved to have a strong series against WKU.
“He gave me a first pitch changeup, so I got to see it,” Ingold said of his solo home run early in the first inning.
The Blue Raiders struck first thanks to that three-run home run to left field by Ingold. However, the Hilltoppers tallied a run on a fielder’s choice and a RBI single by sophomore second baseman Leiff Clarkson to cut the lead to 3-2.
MTSU answered back with a RBI double by Jarreau and a sacrifice fly by Jebavy to take a 5-2 advantage heading into the top of the third inning.
The margin increased as the Blue Raiders utilized three RBI’s from Jebavy and a RBI on a fielder’s choice from senior shortstop Austin Bryant to cruise to the 9-2 victory over rival WKU.
Junior pitcher Tyler Troutt (1-3) picked up his first win of the year after earning the start on the mound for the Blue Raiders. He allowed two runs on seven hits along with three walks and two strikeouts in five full innings of work.
Stepping in to relieve Troutt was junior pitcher Heath Slatton, who allowed zero runs on one hit along with one walk and one strikeout in one full inning of relief.
Senior pitcher Nathan Foriest also came in and allowed zero runs on zero hits, along with one walk and two strikeouts in two full innings of relief to shut down any momentum from the Hilltoppers.
WKU freshman pitcher Logan Weins (3-1) picked up his first loss of the year after receiving the start on the mound for the Hilltoppers (23-23, 9-15 C-USA). He allowed five runs on five hits along with one walk and one strikeout in one full inning.
Junior pitcher Josh Bartley came in from the Hilltoppers’ bullpen and allowed two runs on six hits, along with two walks and four strikeouts in four innings of relief.
The Blue Raiders outhit Western Kentucky 12 to eight and capitalized on three errors committed by the Hilltoppers.
The Blue Raiders will look to continue their weekend success when they travel to San Antonio to face off against Texas-San Antonio in a three-game series starting Friday, May 8. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. CT.
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