Photo by David Chamberlain / MTSU Sidelines
Coming off their surprise upset of No. 15 Vanderbilt on Tuesday, the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (17-14, 5-6) geared up to play the Thundering Herd of Marshall (13-13, 3-8) in a Conference USA matchup.
Due to weather conditions not being favorable on Friday, the first game of the weekend series was moved to Saturday, forcing the Raiders to play a double-header.
It was not a banner day for MTSU, as they were shutout in the first game 11-0, and they dropped the next contest 6-4.
Pitching struggles to find rhythm, offense fails to score in game one
On the mound for the Raiders in the opening games was senior Jake Wyrick (1-1), who coming off a dominating performance against Old Dominion on Mar. 30 where he fanned ten batters.
He couldn’t repeat the magic of his previous start as he struggled through four innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hit and seven walks before being replaced in the top of the fifth. He picked up his second loss of the season marking him at 1-2 for the year.
Sophomore Scheldon Paulk was the lone highlight from the bullpen, as he took over for Wyrick in the fifth. Paulk held the Herd to just one run and struck out two in his appearance.
In total, five pitchers saw action during the game. None of them helped the Raiders dig themselves out of the hole, however.
The Raiders were also shutout on offense for the third time this season, as they failed to get any sort of rally going.
Overall, they had only five hits for the day and failed to capitalize when they were within striking range.
While stronger in the second game, Blue Raiders fall 6-4
Junior Carson Lester (3-2) got the starting nod for the second match. He was efficient in his four innings on the mound, allowing two runs on one hit and six strikeouts before being relieved by junior Tyler Holcombe.
Holcombe threw for three innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits and five strikeouts.
Freshman Zach Keenan rounded up the game going for two innings and only giving up one run on two hits and three strikeouts.
Despite the strong showing from the bullpen, it was not enough to energize the rest of the team to a win.
After being shut out in the first contest, the Blue Raiders knew that they needed to have a strong showing to turn the tide of the game.
While it wasn’t strong enough, they certainly showed signs of life after their stagnant previous performance.
This was followed by two more runs in the seventh, and one more in the eighth to cut the Herd’s lead down to 5-4.
They would not score again after the Herd scored a run in the top of the ninth, making it the eventual final score of 6-4.
The Raiders will finish up their series on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Following this weekend’s series, the Raiders will be in action at home on Tuesday against Belmont University at 6 p.m. They will then travel to Cookeville and play Tennessee Tech on Wednesday at 6 p.m. as well.
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