Raiders swept by Owls after Sunday heartbreaker

Photo by Devin P. Grimes / MTSU Sidelines

The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders baseball team (8-11, 0-3) will try to forget the tough weekend, as they dropped Sunday afternoon’s contest with the Florida Atlantic Owls (14-5, 3-0) by a final score of 7-6.

The Raiders fought hard in a back and forth contest, but a late two-run home run by FAU first baseman Esteban Puerta in the eighth solidified the sweep for the Owls.

MTSU was able to jump out to an early lead through the first four innings, but two FAU runs that gave the owls a 4-3 lead in the fifth would start the fight that would go on until the game’s final pitch.

In the seventh, the Raiders tacked on a run to tie the game, but surrendered a run in the bottom of the inning to go down 5-4.

The Blue Raiders would score again in the top of the eighth to again tie it late, but Puerta’s homer put the Raiders down two.

Blake Benefield singled home Ryan Kemp in the ninth, and the Raiders moved the tying run, Austin Dennis, to third but fell just short.

Vesser, Delgado, Sullivan, Dennis pace Raiders at the plate

Riley Delgado started the scoring for the Raiders as he smashed a lead-off homer over the left field fence off FAU starter Jake Miednik.  Delgado also singled in the second inning and finished the day 2-4.

Catcher Chaz Vesser finished the day 1-3 with a walk, two RBI’s and a run scored. Vesser collected his first RBI in the second inning on a single to centerfield to give MT a 2-1 lead.

In the fourth, Vesser grounded out, but it was enough to score Kevin Sullivan and give the Raiders a 3-1 lead.

During the seventh inning, Vesser’s scored on an Austin Dennis single to tie the game at four. Vesser advanced to third on the play, and scored on a throwing error by FAU shortstop Tyler Frank.

Dennis also collected another hit in the first inning and finished the game 2-3 with an RBI, two walks and a huge stolen base that put him in scoring position to tie it in the ninth.

Second baseman Kevin Sullivan also provided a spark today in the bottom of the MT lineup going 2-3 with one RBI, a walk, and a run scored.

Sullivan’s eighth inning single through the left side of the Owl infield tied the game up late once again at five.  Sullivan also doubled in the second inning and was eventually brought around to score after the Vesser single.

Box Score

 

What’s Next?

The Raiders will return home for a match up with Lipscomb on Tuesday night at 6 p.m.  This is the teams’ second meeting this season, with the Bison’s taking the first meeting on February 22 by a score of 3-2 in Nashville.

Over the coming weekend, the Raiders will continue the “100 miles of hate” rivalry at home against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.

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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