Photo by Darius Horton / MTSU Sidelines
On Saturday afternoon, the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (16-11, 5-3) geared up to play their second game of a three-game series against the Old Dominion Monarchs (9-16, 2-6). In the end, the Blue Raiders claimed a low-scoring 5-2 victory to take a 2-0 series lead heading into Sunday.
Pitching continues recent turnaround
Junior right-hander Carson Lester got the start on the mound and had another solid outing that saw him go for six innings, giving up two runs on five hits and striking out five batters.
The six innings tied his season high from his last start.
He performance kept the Blue Raiders in the game and gave him his third win of the season.
Junior Drew Huff relieved Lester at the top of the seventh inning, and had a solid outing as well. He closed out the game, throwing three shutout innings with three strikeouts to earn the save.
This marks one of the few times this season that the Raiders have only had two pitchers see in-game action in a single game.
Antonini hits home run despite sluggish offense by the Raiders
The Raiders scored three runs in the top of the second inning to grab the early 3-0 lead.
Sophomore Aaron Antonini hit his fourth homer of the season, a two-run bomb to push the Raiders out front.
Junior Blake Benefield added four hits to the offensive attack as well.
They would then be held scoreless again until the top of the eighth inning, and scored a final run in the top of the ninth. This gave the game its final 5-2 score in favor of MTSU.
Defense backs up their pitcher
The Raiders’ gloves were efficient during the contest, as the team only committed a single error on the day.
With the exception of two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, the Monarchs were held scoreless throughout the game.
Junior Austin Dennis was the defensive hero of the game when he fielded and threw the ball to senior Kevin Sullivan and tagged the runner out just before another scored, canceling the run. This effectively ended the rally that the Monarchs were attempting to pull, and turned the momentum back in favor of the Raiders.
Middle Tennessee will go for the series sweep on Sunday at 11 a.m. with freshman left-hander Peyton Wigginton tagged for the start.
To contact Sports Editor Rusty Ellis, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more sports stories, follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter and Periscope at @Sidelines_Sport.