Photo and video by Tyler Lamb / Sports Editor
MTSU’s baseball team has been producing a good amount of offense through this young season. Most of that offense has come in the middle innings. The truth lies in the numbers.
The Raiders have been averaging just over four runs per game in the middle innings [inn. 4-6]. Through the team’s first nine games of the season, they have been able to amass a total of 37 runs in these 27 innings which has accounted for almost 63 percent of their runs scored this season.
What has been able to fuel the team’s middle inning success this season?
” I think we start making adjustments and I think guys are communicating well with each other,” Head coach Jim McGuire said. “They get a better feel for what the pitcher can and can’t do. We try to pick up any tendencies that we can.”
One of MTSU’s biggest producers on offense has been junior Aaron Aucker. Aucker has had almost all of his run production from the middle frames this season.
The infielder has knocked in 12 RBI’s this season with four coming in inning number four, six in the fifth, and one in the sixth. He picked up his first RBI outside of the middle innings in Friday’s win over Kennesaw State to give the Raiders a 2-0 lead in the eighth.
Aucker’s lone round tripper of the year also came in the 5th inning of a game with Austin Peay that started a rally that which brought the Raiders to within one after being down eight to start the inning.
Coming to the plate in the middle frames and seeing the opposing pitcher a time or two has really helped Aucker deliver.
“I honestly didn’t know I had [those kind of middle inning stats],” Aucker said. “It definitely helps the second time through the order. When you already get a look at him, you get a feel for what he has and what he is throwing that day and what he isn’t.”
MTSU has had a tough schedule this season and if they can continue to produce the way they have been, they should be right in the thick of things in Conference USA come postseason.
“It would be nice to get everybody healthy and keep them healthy,” Mcguire said. “We’ve got a lot of pieces we need to get back and keep in order to sustain [the offense]. I do like our depth and our depth has allowed us to continue to score runs and win some games.”
The Blue Raiders have been on an offensive tear through the first nine games this season, and the men from “Middle” have certainly made the middle innings count.