After knocking off Memphis on March 8, the Blue Raiders were unable to surpass instate foe Tennessee Tech in the final mid-week matchup on Wednesday night, losing 9-6 on a call that may have decided the fate of the game.
In the bottom of the second inning with one out and a man on base for Tech, Jake Farr hit a bouncer seemingly two feet from the line that was scooped up and put out by first baseman Kevin Dupree. To surprise, the home plate umpire called the ball foul, allowing another chance for the Golden Eagles.
After a meeting with the umpire and Coach McGuire, Tennessee Tech went on to record three more runs off a home-run by Chris Brown.
“The way I saw Kevin [Dupree] catch the ball I didn’t think there was any doubt that is was fair because both feet were on the other side of the line on the fair side and his glove was on that side,” said Coach McGruire. “Then we make a terrible pitch after that and give them three more runs, and that’s the difference in the ballgame.”
Will Jackson replaced Reid Clements after the controversial call, but Jackson gave up two walks and three hit batsmen, allowing another run to come across.
Answering the call on the bats, Blue Raider freshmen Drew Huff and Blake Benefield quickly got on base to start the top of the second inning. Huff went on the score from third base on a wild pitch from Tech starter Ty King.
Huff finished 1-for-3 with a walk and two RBI.
“[Huff’s] played pretty well since he’s gotten into the starting line-up,” said Coach McGuire. “He gets us going and does a lot of things for us along with the other freshman, [Austin] Dennis and [Blake] Benefield.”
Huff again kicked off the fourth inning in style with his fourth double of the season. After a pair of walks, the Blue Raiders found themselves with the bases loaded and C-USA on-base percentage leader Riley Delgado at the plate.
Tennessee Tech once again let Huff score off a wild pitch, leaving the door open for Delgado who knocked in Dupree and Vaughn Shapen in moments later on a shot to center field.
Delgado finished with a 3-for-5 and two RBI performance.
The Golden Eagles never slowed down enough for the Blue Raiders to catch up and mount the comeback needed to win the game.
The loss drops Middle Tennessee to 11-12 in non-conference matchups this season.
The Blue Raiders will look to get back on the right track as they head to UAB for a three-game series followed by another game with Tennessee Tech in Cookeville.
To contact Sports Editor Connor Grott, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @Connor_Grott.