Photo by Darius Horton / MTSU Sidelines
The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (4-4) traveled to Knoxville on Tuesday to take on in-state foe University of Tennessee Volunteers (5-3). It was be the Blue Raiders second match against a Southeastern Conference team for the season, and the Blue Raiders fell by a final score of 5-4. This runs their road record to 0-2 after a loss to Alabama in the fourth game of the season.
Veteran players break slump in loss
A major concern for the Raiders this season has been the lack of production from their returning players. This was not the case on Tuesday, as junior Blake Benefield blasted his first home run of the season in the second inning to take the early lead. Overall, he went 1-3 at the plate with that home run.
Senior Aaron Aucker also had a strong day at the plate going 3-4 with a double and two RBIs to keep Middle Tennessee in the game.
Junior LA Woodard added his eighth stolen base in the losing effort, and that runs his stolen base percentage up to 89 percent (8-9).
Pitching gets off to solid start, falters midway through the contest
Junior A.J. Spencer had a strong showing in his first start of the season, throwing three shut-out innings with two strikeouts.
After Spencer left the game, the Volunteers came charging back from the 3-0 deficit and the Raiders’ pitching troubles started to show again. In total, they had six different pitchers on the mound in Tuesday’s loss. Although they struggled, they were more consistent and all of the runs given up were spread out amongst three players.
Despite the loss, there were several positive notes to take away from the game. The Raiders pitching and defense both seemed to have more success compared to the last few weeks. Several key players that have either been in slumps or simply weren’t contributing seemed to find themselves again and posted successful stats that should improve as the season goes on.
The Raiders will play again on Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m. against another in-state opponent in Tennessee Tech in Murfreesboro.
To contact Sports Editor Rusty Ellis, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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