Photo by Delaney Dickey / MTSU Sidelines Archives
Following their 10-4 victory against Austin Peay, the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (22-20-1, 7-11-1) took on the University of Texas San Antonio Roadrunners (22-17, 9-8) in another Conference USA match-up.
The last time the Blue Raiders faced the Roadrunners, they were swept in the series. The Blue Raiders currently stand in 10th place in the conference, while UTSA holds the fourth position.
The Blue Raiders’ bats took a couple of innings to get going. However, a huge third inning blew the game wide open for the Blue Raiders, and the Roadrunners never came close.
“We just have to play with way more confidence and relaxed,” said Jim McGuire, the Blue Raiders head coach. “We get in too many conference games where we press too hard, and I think we just did a better job this time.”
Blue Raiders pitching limits Roadrunners bats
On the mound for the Blue Raiders against UTSA was senior left-hander Jake Wyrick.
Wyrick showed some flashes in his outing, as he pitched five innings with two earned runs on five hits and six walks to seven strikeouts before being relieved by sophomore Drew Huff.
Huff also had an up and down appearance going two innings, allowing three runs, including a home run, on four hits with a walk and three strikeouts.
Freshman left-hander Peyton Wigginton came in during the ninth inning and closed out the game for the Blue Raiders.
Offensive explosion for the Blue Raiders
The game was held scoreless until the bottom of the third inning when senior Austin Dennis crossed home on a wild throw, which resulted in an error.
This was followed by junior Blake Benefield hitting a two-run double to score Aaron Aucker and Ryan Kemp. Benefield scored on the next at bat when sophomore Drew Huff hit a one-run double to make the score 4-0.
The Raiders also put up three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to make the lead 7-1.
This was followed by a three-run fifth inning to give the Raiders a dominating 10-1 lead.
After quelling a three-run rally in the seventh inning, which made the score 10-5, the Blue Raiders scored in both the seventh and eighth to bring the game to a 12-5 final score.
“I think the key for us was that we got their starter out of the game in the third inning,” McGuire said. “Once we got him out…we had scored some runs, and it built confidence.”
The offensive hero of the game was Benefield, as he finished 2-4 at the plate with four RBIs and two doubles.
“We just wanted to be aggressive,” Benefield said. “It seemed like (the pitcher) was in the zone tonight. We attacked early, and it worked out well.”
Dennis finished strong as well, going 2-3 with two RBIs.
The Raiders will take their winning momentum into game two against the Roadrunners. The game is slated to start at 4 p.m. on Saturday, and junior right-hander Carson Lester is expected to start on the mound.
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