Photo by Darius Horton / MTSU Sidelines
On a windy Tuesday afternoon, the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (6-6) geared up to take on the Memphis Tigers (5-7) in their second match-up of the season. The Tigers won the first match by a score of 6-4, and the Raiders struggled to get anything going offensively. The story would be much the same this game, as Middle Tennessee made mistakes on both sides of the ball and the Tigers won the game by a final score of 6-5.
Pitching gets off to strong start, falters late
Junior right-hander A.J. Spencer got the start on the mound for the Raiders. He solid overall in his appearance, giving up two runs on five hits and striking out seven against 23 batters faced.
“I thought A.J. did a good job,” said Head Coach Jim McGuire. “He gave us five innings. For a mid-week starter, that’s all I can ask of him.”
Spencer was replaced in the top of the sixth inning by junior Blake Stansberry, who struggled in his time on the mound and would not make it out of the inning. Overall, he gave up two runs in a third of an inning.
From there on, the staff was solid all the way until the ninth inning when redshirt junior Tyler Holcombe gave up the game-winning run on a wild pitch.
Offense continues to look for consistency
The Blue Raiders were be held scoreless until the bottom of the fourth inning when senior Kevin Sullivan scored on a balk.
Middle only recorded one hit on the day through the sixth inning before senior Aaron Aucker hit a two-run homer, his third of the season, in the bottom of the sixth to bring the score to 4-3.
The Raiders tied it at 5 in the bottom of the eighth after the Tigers’ pitcher hit redshirt sophomore Manuel Lopez with the bases loaded.
Overall while the team has looked better, they know that they are just a few adjustments away from making a breakthrough as a team.
“I think the intensity level has got to pick up,” McGuire said. “Especially at home where the conditions should be to our advantage, not the other way around.”
The Raiders will conclude the series against Memphis on Wednesday at 3 p.m.
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