Photo by Tyler Lamb / Sports Editor
MTSU Baseball’s losing streak is now at seven following a 10-3 loss to Western Kentucky.
The Blue Raiders actually had one more hits than the Hilltoppers, but WKU was able to do more with their runners. The Hilltoppers took advantage of a big second inning where they scored six runs, and while the Blue Raiders were able to come back to within three in the fourth inning, Western Kentucky found their offensive stride again in the sixth, scoring three more and essentially taking away MTSU’s momentum.
Western Kentucky takes advantage of MTSU’s struggles
Western Kentucky had an offensive explosion in the second inning, due in part to Jake Wyrick walking WKU catcher Hunter Wood. Wood proceeded by stealing second as Wyrick looked to check him at first. After this, it all seemed to go downhill as WKU accounted for three straight singles leading to two runs.
Wyrick was then able to strike out a WKU batter before giving up a hit and another run. WKU first baseman Thomas Peter hit a three-run homer to put the Hilltoppers up 6-0 in the second inning.
“Those were big hits in big situations…something that we didn’t do,” Head coach Jim McGuire said.
Middle Tennessee was able to hold the Hilltoppers scoreless for three innings, before struggling again in the sixth. WKU’s first two batters got on base, before a bunt that set up runners on second and third with one out. The series of events ended Wyrick’s day on the mound and brought in Devin Conn.
Conn walked the first batter, loading the bases. A hit right up the middle was just out of the reach of a diving Kevin Sullivan as two more runs drove in. A wild throw on a double-play attempt brought in another Western Kentucky run, bringing the sixth inning total to three runs.
AJ Spencer came in to pitch to start the ninth inning, but Thomas Peter was able to lead off with his second homerun of the game which brought the score to 10-3.
Brad Jarreau returns after five-week absence
Middle Tennessee had a key piece of their team return tonight as senior Brad Jarreau played in his first game after breaking his hand on February 18 at Georgia Southern.
Jarreau’s first at bat in five weeks saw him strike out.
“I’ve just got to sit back and keep my hands back,“Jarreau said, “I was kind of jumping at the gun my first at bat.”
In the third inning, his second at bat brought the Blue Raiders their first run across as he was able to get an RBI off of a sac-fly that brought Chaz Vesser across for the score.
His third at bat, which came in the fourth inning, saw him ground out. He did show some speed as he just barely reached first after the ball.
Jarreau was finally able to make it on base in the seventh inning when he was walked. He wasn’t able to get off of first, as an Austin Dennis strikeout and Blake Benefield fly-out wrapped up the inning.
Subsequently, his first hit came in the ninth inning. He was able to advance Vesser to second on a hard hit ground ball down the middle.
“I felt like I improved after the first at bat,” Jarreau said, ”I felt like I pieced together some pretty good at-bats towards the end.”
Injuries bring MTSU down
While Jarreau is back for the Blue Raiders, Aaron Aucker and Reid Clements are both out for another week with their respective injuries.
Aucker is out with a hamstring injury, which takes away a key piece of Middle Tennessee’s offense.
“We miss him in the middle of the lineup,”McGuire said, “He’s a guy everybody turns to to be able to step up and get it done.”
Box score for tonight’s 10-3 loss to Western Kentucky pic.twitter.com/8smu356tgm
— Ryan Nixon (@RNixon32) March 25, 2017
3-25 Western Kentucky, 12 p.m.
3-26 Western Kentucky, 1 p.m.