Photo courtesy // Brent Beerends, MT Athletic Communications
Middle Tennessee (3-2) hosted Army West Point (2-3) in the opening round of the Mule Mix Classic on Friday afternoon in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
The Blue Raiders were winners of three-straight before losing 9-1 to Jeremy Mortensen and Army.
Mortensen allowed just three hits in six innings on the mound, while striking out seven batters, but the Blue Raiders were unable to capitalize on his five walks and the 12 runners left on-base.
The bullpen for Middle Tennessee was unable to hold the deficit to two, giving up seven runs in four innings of relief, after Nate Hoffman allowed just six hits and two earned runs in five innings of work.
“Nate Hoffman is still not where he needs to be,” head coach Jim McGuire said. “[At least] not where I think he needs to be, and what we saw him do last year. He competed well and ended up getting us five innings… We were right there, even though it wasn’t his best start.”
Middle Tennessee’s short stop Riley Delgado went 2-for-3 against Mortensen, while adding on two walks in his final two at-bats. Delgado accounted for two of MTSU’s mere five hits.
The Blue Raiders were dormant on offense, after scoring nine runs on nine hits on Tuesday against rival Lipscomb. MTSU got hits here and there, but they were never able to string multiple hits together, creating offensive momentum.
“If we could score some runs and get some momentum going, it would take the pressure off of [the pitching staff]… It would let them pitch a little more relaxed. We’re trying to get the right pieces of the puzzle together. We put pressure on our pitchers because we can’t score runs,” McGuire said.
The Blue Raiders take on Western Michigan (0-4) on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the second game of the Mule Mix Classic.
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