Long day of baseball sees MTSU win both games of doubleheader


Blake Benefield smashes a hit during a game against WKU on March 24, 2017. (MTSU Sidelines/Tyler Lamb)

Photo by Tyler Lamb / MTSU Sidelines

MTSU played over eight hours of baseball on Saturday, as they were able to win both games of their doubleheader with Marshall.

The first game saw the Blue Raiders beat Marshall in extra innings, 8-6. The second game of the day was also decided by two runs, 6-4 in favor of the Blue Raiders.

Raiders come from behind to win first game in extras

The first game of the day had a slow start offensively, but the Blue Raiders were able to get on the board first after an Austin Dennis home-run in the fourth inning. Marshall was able to answer back with a home run of their own in the bottom of the fourth to take the lead 3-1. The Thundering Herd was able to tack on two more runs in the fifth inning to go up 5-1.

The seventh inning saw the Blue Raiders fight back into the game. Manuel Lopez walked to start the inning, followed by singles from Ryan Kemp and Blake Benefield to load the bases. Following a Chaz Vesser strikeout with the bases loaded, the Blue Raiders were able to cut their deficit as Brad Jarreau was walked, bringing across a run. Dennis was then able to bring two more runners across with a two-RBI double that sent Jarreau to third. Riley Delgado grounded out to second base, but he brought Jarreau across home in the attempt to tie the game at 5-5. The Blue Raiders left Dennis stranded on third to wrap up their huge seventh inning.

Neither team could score another run until extra innings. Delgado was able to pick up an RBI single that brought across Dennis. Kaleb King was able to hit a double to right center field that brought Delgado across. Kemp hit an RBI that brought King across to wrap up the Blue Raider’s scoring in the 10th inning, leading 8-5.

Marshall was able to get a lead-off single to start their half of the inning, but weren’t able to get anything else going until they had committed two outs. Back-to-back hits with two outs brought across a run to make the score 8-6 with runners on first and second. Tyler Holcombe was able to get a strikeout and stop Marshall’s momentum and wrap up the first game, 8-6.

Blue Raiders need late inning push to win second game

The Blue Raiders were able to carry the momentum they got from their big tenth inning win, and picked up two runs in the first inning of the second game.

Drew Huff picked up a double down the right field line for an RBI that brought Dennis around. Delgado was able to score the second run of the inning off of an error by Marshall’s third basemen on a Kemp at-bat.

After this half of the inning, MTSU wasn’t able to get anything going again until the eighth. The second through seventh innings featured a lot of opportunities for Marshall to take a big lead. Marshall picked up three runs, all coming in the fourth inning, but they left six baserunners stranded throughout this time period.

The Blue Raiders were able to tie the game up, but not until two outs were on the board, including a fielding error by the first baseman that could have wrapped up the inning. Nonetheless, the Blue Raiders came out of the eighth inning tied 3-3 with Marshall.

After tying the game in the eighth, MTSU had a strong ninth inning that proved to be too much for Marshall.

Phillip Kunsa led off the ninth with a single to left field. Following a Kevin Sullivan sacrifice bunt, Kunsa scored from second off of a Benefield single to right field. Aaron Antonini singled down the middle to put runners on first and second. Austin Dennis hit a two-RBI double to bring the score to 6-3.

In similar fashion to the first game of the day, Marshall was able to score one run to make the score 6-4. However, they left two runners on as Dennis recorded a strikeout for the third and final out of the game, also giving him his first career win.

What’s next?

The Blue Raiders will play the third and final game of their series with Marshall on Sunday, April 2 at noon.

MTSU plays in Knoxville on April 4 at 5 p.m.

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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