Baseball: Blue Raiders drop series to West Virginia after 10-4 defeat


Photo by Darius Horton / MTSU Sidelines

Photo by Darius Horton / MTSU Sidelines

On Sunday the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (8-8) finished up their weekend series against the West Virginia Mountaineers.

The Raiders started off strong, but errors and limited success on offense robbed them of a chance at victory as they dropped the game by a final score of 10-4.

“We were inconsistent, that’s the thing that’s bothering me most,” said Head Coach Jim McGuire. “Friday, we swung the bat really well. Saturday and Sunday, we did not. Their pitchers and coaches figured us out.”

Pitching falters late in loss

The Raiders’ bullpen continued to struggle against the Mountaineers’ bats.

Freshman left-hander Peyton Wigginton (1-1) got the start on the mound for MTSU, and he struggled in his time by going 4.1 innings. Overall, he allowed six runs on eight hits and two walks.

He was relieved in the top of the fifth inning by junior Drew Huff, who fared much better. Huff threw 2.2 innings of two-run ball to keep the Blue Raiders firmly in the game.

He was then replaced by junior righty A.J. Spencer, who allowed two runs on two hits. Those two runs put Middle into their final deficit of the game as the final score was 10-4 in favor of the Mountaineers.

Offense fizzles after second inning

The Raiders started a rally in the bottom of the second inning when catcher Aaron Antonini scored on a wild pitch to get the home team on the board.

Middle Tennessee scored again on a two-run double by junior LA Woodard, who later scored on an Austin Dennis single.

By the time Woodard crossed home, the Blue Raiders held a 4-1 lead.

After that, however, MTSU failed to score again and only recorded four total hits during the game.

“They dominated us, especially with the strikeouts,” McGuire said. “We didn’t adjust very well to what they were doing.”

Lapses in the field doom Middle Tennessee

The Raiders also struggled defensively as they gave up two costly errors. Myles Christian and Kevin Sullivan were the two culprits Sunday, and the errors happened like many others do: at the absolute worst time.

The Mountaineers’ batters were especially strong when hitting along the first and third base line where the Raiders couldn’t seem to make plays.

This has become a nasty trend for MTSU in the field, and it will need to improve moving forward in the season.

What’s next?

The Raiders will next travel to Clarksville, Tennessee, to take on Austin Peay Tuesday at 6 p.m.

To contact Sports Editor Rusty Ellis, email sports@mtsusidelines.com.

For more sports stories, follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter and Periscope at @Sidelines_Sport.

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