Photo by Devin Grimes / MT Athletics
Story by Trevor Aldridge / Contributing Writer
The Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (13-19) lost at home to the number seven ranked Vanderbilt Commodores (25-8) in a route on Tuesday night by a final score of 15-3.
The Commodores built a three-run lead off of MT left-hander David Zoz before the game’s first out had even been recorded. Zoz was pulled in the top of the second after allowing a one-out double to Stephen Scott and walking Julian Infante. Junior right-hander Grant Williams was able to navigate the Blue Raiders through the rest of the inning with no further damage.
MT managed to find some offense in the bottom of the inning when Peyton Wigginton, who had reached base on an error, scored on a double down the left field line by Darrell Freeman Jr. Freeman was then brought in with a soft liner to left field from Darien Prewett, who was tagged out at second base trying to leg out a double.
Things quickly went downhill for the Blue Raiders in the third, as the first five Vanderbilt batters reached base safely, leading to sophomore John Dowless being inserted into the game to pitch. In all, the Commodores brushed seven runs across the plate in the inning, stretching their lead to 10-2. Through just two and-a-half innings the Blue Raiders had gone through three pitchers and offered up 108 pitches in total.
Vanderbilt freshman centerfielder Isaiah Thomas, who had yet to record his first collegiate hit coming into the game, added to the drubbing in the top of the fourth with a two-run homer that hit off the wall of champions in left field, pushing the deficit to double digits.
Vanderbilt finished off their onslaught in the seventh with a solo home run from rightfielder JJ Bleday, which was his second of the night and the fourth for the team. Thomas then drove in another on a sacrifice fly.
Though they were able to manage one more run off a balk in the bottom of the seventh, a miracle comeback was not in the cards on Tuesday for MT. The loss snaps a four-game winning streak for the Blue Raiders, which was their longest of the season. Catcher Aaron Antonini’s 15-game hitting streak also came to an end, as he went 0-3 with a pair of strikeouts.
When asked how his team would handle such a loss, MT head coach Jim Toman said “We can’t dwell on that, when we get beat in pitching, defense, and offensively, all three facets they won. So we’ve just got to move on from it, kind of remember it, but you’ve got to flush it out quickly. If you dwell on it you’ll lose tomorrow and you’re not doing very well for the weekend.”
The Blue Raiders will have their chance to bounce back tomorrow night when they travel north to take on the Murray State Racers (13-16), who they defeated here in Murfreesboro exactly one week ago in 13 innings by a score of 8-5.