Photo by Darius Horton / MTSU Sidelines
The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (11-9, 2-1) finished up their weekend series against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers on Sunday. After winning the first two games of the series by close margins 3-2 and 8-7, they dropped the third game in another close contest by a final score of 10-7.
Offense gets off to hot start
As has been their tendency for much of the season, the Raiders jumped out to an early lead, but couldn’t hold onto it throughout the later innings.
The Raiders rallied for four runs in the top of the fourth inning to grab a 5-2 lead over the Hilltoppers. Senior Aaron Aucker blasted a two-run home run, giving him a team-leading six bombs for the season.
Junior Blake Benefield added to this rally by hitting a two-run double.
This was the last time that the Raiders held the lead, as the Hilltoppers came roaring back and rallied in the bottom of the fourth innings to tie it at 5-5. The Toppers added three more runs in the fifth to take the lead at 8-5.
The Raiders added runs in the fifth and seventh innings, however, it was not enough to overcome Western Kentucky.
Pitching struggles yet again in loss
Freshman left-hander Peyton Wigginton was the starter on the mound for the Raiders, and he struggled during his appearance. Overall, he allowed six runs on nine hits and three walks in 4.2 innings.
He was relieved by sophomore right-hander Scheldon Paulk, who hasn’t seen much playing time this season due to injuries. Paulk was solid in his time on the mound, allowing only one run on four hits in two innings of work.
Paulk was then relieved by junior right-hander A.J. Spencer, who was efficient in his appearance on the mound. Spencer only gave up a single run on no hits and only 1 walk in 1.1 innings on the mounds.
The Raiders will play again on Tuesday against Lipscomb University in Nashville. The game is set to start at 6 p.m.
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