Photo by Delaney Dickey / MTSU Sidelines
Following a day off after their Saturday game was rescheduled, the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders played their final series game against Rice on Sunday afternoon. The game ended in a 5-5 tie due to NCAA regulations that place a curfew on Sunday games. This prevented the game from going to extra innings.
“We were fortunate to get it tied, but it would have been more fortunate to get a win,” said Head Coach Jim McGuire. “I’m sure (Rice) is thinking the same thing.”
Pitching staff struggles early
Junior right-hander A.J. Spencer got the nod for the start on the mound, and struggled in his time in the game. He threw for 3.1 innings, and gave up two runs on three hits and eight walks with three strikeouts.
With two runners on base, sophomore right-hander Grant Williams relieved Spencer. He made it out of the inning with only one runner scoring.
Williams fared better on the mound, going three innings and only giving up three runs on three hits and one walk before being relieved by junior righty Tyler Holcombe.
“We didn’t pitch great, but we battle out of some jams,” McGuire said. “I thought from a competitive standpoint, we were pretty good.”
Offense struggles early, ties game late
The Blue Raiders were held scoreless until the bottom of the third when senior Aaron Aucker hit a single to score fellow senior Kevin Sullivan, tying the game at one.
Aucker finished the day going 3-5 with three RBIs, the only Raider to have a single RBI in the game.
MTSU took their first lead of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning when junior Blake Benefield crossed home on a passed ball for a 3-2 lead.
Middle Tennessee managed 14 total hits, but failed to capitalize on most of their scoring opportunities. For the game, they left 10 runners on base.
The Raiders will be back in action on Tuesday when they host the Lipscomb Bison at 6 p.m. The last time these teams faced off, the Raiders walked away with a close 8-7 victory.
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