Photo by Devin P. Grimes / MTSU Sidelines
Anyone who follows Middle Tennessee baseball knows about starting outfielder Blake Benefield. He has been at MTSU for the last three years and has been a consistent contributor to any success the team has had. By the time he graduates, he will likely be considered one of the best in the program.
“He’s from Murfreesboro; he’s an MTSU guy,” said Head Coach Jim McGuire. “There’s nobody that fits (MTSU) more than he does …every time you’re around him and he’s around the team, you can see his passion for the university.”
It was clearly a match meant to happen.
Before he came to Middle Tennessee, Benefield made a name for himself on the high school level at Siegel High School in Murfreesboro. During his time there, he was an All-District player from his sophomore year to his senior season. He was also an All-State Team member both his junior and senior seasons when he posted above a .400 batting average.
His senior season saw him named the 7-AAA Player of the Year, as well as an honorable mention for Perfect Game All-American.
“He brings more than just what he does on the field,” McGuire said. “His success in the summer league and Alaskan Collegiate League brought a lot of notoriety to himself and the program.”
Benefield has been a solid contributor to the team from the moment he took the field as a Blue Raider, even leading them in home runs (eight), RBIs (32) and doubles (15) during his freshman season.
His efforts didn’t go unnoticed on the national scale either, as he won numerous accolades in his first season. Among these were the Louisville Slugger Player of the Week Award, where he became the first position player in school history to win such an honor.
This was coupled with a spot on both the Conference USA All-Freshman Team and the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American team. On the latter, he was the fifth Blue Raider to be named to that team.
His sophomore season saw Benefield start 53 of 55 games, all in the left field. He recorded 13 multi-hit games and posted a .261 batting average with three home runs and 24 RBIs.
So far this season, Benefield is proving to be a powerhouse at the plate. He currently leads the team in home runs (five), while posting a .246 batting average and 11 RBI.
Aside from his batting abilities, he has also proven himself to be a highly efficient fielder that rarely makes an error. He only has one so far this season, and boasts a .969 fielding percentage that is right in line with his career statistics.
Off the field, Benefield is also an excellent student and was named to the Commissioner’s Honor Roll for the last two seasons.
Seen as a leader on this team, Benefield has advice for any players preparing to make the leap to college from high school.
“You have to get it done,” Benefield said regarding how he maintains his education and baseball career. “Plan a good schedule out, most people don’t like to use agendas nowadays. I like to keep notes in my phone. You have to have good grades to play.”
The Blue Raiders are opening conference play this weekend against rival Western Kentucky in Bowling Green, Kentucky. They will rely heavily on Benefield’s skill set if they want to make this a successful season in conference.
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