Photo by Tyler Lamb / Sports Editor
Middle Tennessee was able to wrap up their series early, beating UAB by way of the run-rule in the eighth inning, 13-3.
The Blue Raiders have had an offensive explosion this weekend, having a big come-from-behind win on Thursday, and two run-rule victories on Friday and Saturday. The runs for this game didn’t come very easy early on, as the Blue Raiders didn’t get on the board until the sixth inning, down 3-0 at that point. The sixth through eighth innings saw MTSU bring across 13 runs however, enacting the run-rule.
Late inning surge allows MTSU to get run-rule for second day in a row
The sixth inning all around started things in the MTSU direction. The Blue Raiders were able to sit UAB down 1-2-3, bringing up senior outfielder Brad Jarreau in the bottom of the sixth. Jarreau was able to hit a double down the right field line. Two batters later, designated hitter Aaron Aucker was able to reach base through throwing error, ruled a fielder’s choice, pushing Jarreau to third. Right fielder Austin Dennis brought Jarreau across for the Blue Raiders’ first run of the night.
First baseman Kaleb King loaded the bases, setting up sophomore Drew Huff to bring across two more runs on a double.
A pitching swap came after left fielder Blake Benefield was walked, loading the bases again. Catcher Aaron Antonini brought in the final two runs for MTSU in the sixth, making the score 5-3.
The seventh inning saw UAB load the bases, but they weren’t able to bring across any runs.
The Blue Raiders were able to get the bases loaded once more thanks to an Aucker and Dennis singles, plus a King walk. Huff was able to get his third RBI of the afternoon on a sac fly to centerfield that brought Aucker around. Benefield reached base on a RBI single to right field, bringing Dennis across. Antonini got his third RBI of the night as well when he singled and brought King across.
Riley Delgado hit an RBI single that brought in Benefield in what would prove to be the last run of the seventh inning, making the score 9-3 at that point.
UAB was only able to follow up get a single hit, causing for an easy top of the eighth for MTSU.
Aucker was hit by a pitch to get the Blue Raiders their first runner on base. Redshirt freshman Darrell Freeman was brought in to pinch run, and he scored four batters later off a wild pitch. Huff was able to hit a single through the right side that brought in two more runs, making his total five RBI on the day.
Huff would prove to be the last run of the game after an Antonini RBI single to center field.
Pitching solid for MTSU
While the common viewer may look at this as strictly an offensive win, MTSU starting pitcher Cody Puckett and reliever Devin Conn put together good performances of their own on the mound.
Puckett’s day started out with him walking the first batter he faced, but he was able to get the next three batters out in a row.
The second inning was a strong inning by Puckett, as he was able to put together three strikeouts. UAB did get their first run in this inning, but it counted as an unearned run for Puckett due to a throwing error by the catcher on a double steal.
The third inning was Puckett’s shakiest as he gave up two runs. A walk and a single allowed for UAB to score off a two RBI double, which would prove to be the last runs of the game for them. The double was also the last hit of Puckett’s six inning performance, ending the day with four strikeouts, two hits against, two walks and two earned runs.
Conn came in the game in the seventh inning after Puckett hit a batter, and proceeded to strike out the first two he faced. The bases became loaded, but a fielder’s choice wrapped up the inning before UAB could score.
Conn’s eighth inning was stress free, as he got the first two batters out. He did give up a single to left field, but the next batter grounded out to end the inning, and MTSU’s defensive part of the game.
Conn ended the game with two strikeouts, two hits against, one walk and no earned runs.
MTSU plays host to #20 Vanderbilt on Tuesday April 18th at 6 p.m.
Next weekend, the Blue Raiders will be on the road at Charlotte, game times as follows: