Blue Raiders “hit” stride, score 20 against Bowling Green


Photo by Tyler Lamb / Sports Editor

Story by Stephen Smith / Staff Writer

The Blue Raiders (3-3) hosted Bowling Green State University (0-4) Saturday at 2 p.m. and didn’t break stride from the night before. The first two innings proved as a pitchers duel for the Raiders, as well as Bears as neither team scored. The top of the third started the scoring for the Bears as they pushed two across after starting pitcher Tyler Hasper was taken out of the game. The Raiders answered back in the bottom half of the third and didn’t look back as Middle stayed true to their middle inning dominance. The team’s 20-8 victory was the most runs in a game since March 10th, 2013 against Xavier University.

Hasper out early with injury

Tyler Holcombe finished with a 2.57 ERA in his first win of the season.
(Devin P. Grimes/MTSU Sidelines)

Tyler Hasper started his first home game as a Blue Raider. The Hartland Community College product looked good for the first two innings, allowing two hits, two runs and two strikeouts. After a leadoff single and a walk in the third inning, Hasper was pulled from the game with an apparent shoulder injury.

“We’ll let him go see the doc, it’s a shoulder injury,” said head coach Jim McGuire. “He felt something on one of the pitches. It happened in the second inning and he was trying to fight through it. The cold weather may have something to do with it, but it’s just hard to say where it’s at right now.”

Tyler Holcombe came into relief in a tight spot. With one out and two guys on, Holcombe said, “I had to get loose, it was a little awkward at first. I gave up two runs but limited the damage.”

Holcombe finished his 3.2 innings giving up one run, and striking out batters.

Middle innings prove huge…again

“We were a lot more focused when we fell behind early,” said Coach McGuire about falling behind early. “I think we understand what we have to do and when the hits start coming, it seems contagious.”

McGuire spoke highly on his team’s communication in the clubhouse, something he had been harping on his team about.

“Once we get through the lineup twice, we have a better understanding of what’s going on, and it proved true in the third.”

3B Drew Huff had three putouts in Saturday’s game vs Bowling Green.
(Devin P. Grimes/MTSU Sidelines)

After the leadoff man got out, followed by a walk and an error, Murfreesboro native Drew Huff laced one down the right field line plating Middle’s first run.

Followed by a Kaleb King RBI single, Blake Benefield doubled, scoring two more runs and giving the Raiders the lead. The scoring didn’t stop there as Kevin Sullivan had his chance to add to the lead, doubling to left and scoring two more for the boys in blue.

Riley Delgado hit a sac-fly to give the Raiders their 7th run of the inning and a solid lead for pitcher Holcombe.

Stepping on the mound in the fourth was different for the sophomore pitcher.

“When you have the lead, it’s a lot easier,” said Holcombe. “The bats came alive and that’s always great, you get a little more comfortable.”

The bottom of the 5th was another big inning for the Raiders. Chaz Vesser lead the inning off with a single, followed by Sullivan forcing a walk. With a double from Kaleb King, the Raiders went on to score six runs off of four hits, and two errors, the Raiders extended their lead to 13-2.

Another 7-run inning came in the bottom of the 6th, highlighted by the 2-run bomb to leftfield from sophomore Austin Dennis who spoke highly on his team after the game.

“We know that when we come to play, we can beat anybody,” said Dennis.

How they scored 20 runs

Box score

What’s next?

 The Blue Raiders close out the Mule Mix Classic tomorrow when they take on the Missouri State Bears at 12 p.m. at Reese Smith Jr. Field. 

Follow MTSU Baseball beat writers Anthony Fiorella (@A_Fiorella74), Ryan Nixon (@RNixon32), and Stephen Smith (@StEvo_Shield) on Twitter for more coverage.

For more sports stories, follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter and Periscope at @Sidelines_Sport.

To contact Sports Editor Tyler Lamb (@Tlamb35), email sports@mtsusidelines.com.

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